Varsity Preps

Tyler Phillips, #13 in Arkansas 25 for 2015

Photo courtesy of Whole Hog Sports

There is a growing trend of outside linebackers making the jump to safety and some of the more stout safeties jumping to outside linebacker. This is creating a better field of run stopping safeties and better pass covering outside linebackers. That is exactly where North Little Rock’s Tyler Phillips is at. He is currently a outside linebacker for the Charging Wildcats, but in college he will likely be a safety. He also has one thing that no other player in the country has on him. He is top SPARQ rated football prospect in America. For most that means he is the best athlete overall in the entire class. He has that title now, but he needs to show coaches that he isn’t just a great athlete playing football. More that he is a great football player, that is an elite athlete.

Phillips is a part of a very strong North Little Rock team that will compete for a Arkansas 7A state championship likely this next year, and he is the anchor of their defense. Phillips is able to use his 4.68 speed to get around blocking tight ends and offensive tackles and make plays in the backfield. He also uses that speed to make plays in pass coverage over the middle and in the flat. One of my favorite things about Phillips coverage game is that he always has his hands ready to shoot up and bat at the ball or try for an interception. That is an intangible quality that will take him pretty far. Phillips is 6’2” and 207 pounds so he already has the frame to be a safety in major college football. The thing now that he needs to do now is work more at making the shift over to the safety position and maybe work some on his speed. Phillips is already a fast individual but safeties are typically a little faster than the guys at linebacker depth.

Phillips hasn’t had a ton of attention, but that instantly changed earlier this month when he scored his 141.36 SPARQ score in Arlington. Phillips can’t lean on that number though. Phillips teammate Kavin Alexander who was a corner for the Charging Wildcats, was a top SPARQ rated player last season and ended up being looked over by many major programs. That was more due to Alexander’s size though. Phillips obviously does not have a size problem. To this point, Phillips is being evaluated by home state Arkansas, and defending national champion, Florida State. Look to see that list grow over the summer.

The Verdict: Tyler Phillips will be moving up my rankings the next time I release them. Mark that down. Phillips is also a Division I athlete. Mark that down. The one thing though that we can’t mark down yet, is whether or not Phillips is a Division I football player. This next season will show coaches that. Unlike most, camps won’t be as indicative on Phillips as I have said with most other prospects. It can hurt him though if he for some reason has a hiccup.

Pros: Elite Athlete, Size, Hands

Cons: Position Change, Slight Speed Differential

Check out Tyler’s Hudl page: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1412956/tyler-phillips

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