Syracuse has offered unknown high school football prospects before, sometimes it’s even been a player’s first scholarship. Just a few days ago, the Orange made a dream come true for RB Ervin Philips of West Haven, CT. The speedster received his initial FBS offer from SU and was more than just excited after hearing the news:
“I was thrilled, but more shocked I have to say. I got home from practice last Friday and got a call from Coach Bullough and he offered me. It’s a blessing to get an offer from a great program like Syracuse.”
Philips has interest from a total of nine schools, including ACC partners Pittsburgh and Boston College, as well as his home state Connecticut, Maryland, Temple, Villanova, and Maine. SU was the first to offer the 5’11” 176 lb. running back. Syracuse Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bullough relayed the news to him, but Philips told The Fizz about his specific talk with OC George McDonald:
“He was great. He really thinks my agility and speed stand out. He told me he watched my highlight tape, and that’s exactly what he told me stood out. He really liked my quickness on the field.”
McDonald is at it again trying to add personnel and eventually build a potent SU offense. It’s bold that SU is the first to offer Philips, but McDonald must vision that agility and quickness in his playbook. He’s establishing his roots in the Sunshine State, while also staying local in the West Haven High School star. Philips has the numbers to back up his abilities. He rushed for over 750 yards last year to go along with 19 touchdowns. Although his primary position is in the backfield, Philips told The Fizz what separates him from other typical RBs:
“My versatility helps me stand out from other players. I play running back, but I can also play in the slot. I’m a good catcher. I can even play quarterback sometimes if needed. I think that’s what makes me a difference maker, my versatility.”
Versatility is certainly a quality SU football wants more of. It’s the framework Scott Shafer values. Philips caught over 300 yards receiving for West Haven and scored 3 touchdowns in the process. He even took reps at QB.
Philips also spoke repeatedly about his love for competition. With the Orange on its way into its debut season in the ACC, Philips was amped about the possible opportunity:
“I admire competition, and especially when a team or program is moving into a new conference. I know they look like the underdog. I like the idea of coming into something like that and competing day in and day out. Coach McDonald sounded excited over the phone with me so that got me even more excited.”
The move to a major conference obviously is a carrot for high school athletes. Even if Syracuse isn’t immediately successful (Debby-Downer Alert), the word and attention is out there for this football program. Darryl Gross has tried to push the brand of SU football back to where it once was in the past. Kids such as Philips noticing the impact is great to see.
Philips hopes to hear soon from Pittsburgh and a potential offer from them.Syracuse lost out on three-star OL Alex Officer and DE Justin Moody to the Panthers in February’s draft class. But Philips mentioned multiple times he can’t forget Syracuse being the first school to offer him. The Orange provides his first opportunity to play football at the next level of his career. Philips hopes to visit the team and personnel during summer camp, and eventually make a trip up to the Hill. It’s still plenty early in the recruiting brigade, but watch for possibly yet another battle between SU and Pitt for an ambitious prospect.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen