Tuesday, February 5, 2008
UW QB Recruit Gives the Badgers Something to be Excited About
UW doesn't get the Blue-Chip QB prospect. They never land that big name QB recruit. But this year could be different.
The Badgers have 23 known commitments and the one fans and recruiting analysts seem most excited about is quarterback Curt Phillips, from Kingsport, Tenn., who is already enrolled at UW.
ESPN Scouts Inc. has Phillips, 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, as the second-highest ranked player in UW's class, behind defensive end Tyler Westphal of Menasha, who ranks No. 147 on its top 150 national list.
"I think (Phillips) is one of the true sleeper prospects in this class," said Tom Luginbill, National Recruiting Director for ESPN Scouts Inc. "Not only can he run it, he can throw it. He's got great size.
"I think this is the prospect, in this class, people are going to wonder, 'How did we miss on that guy?' ''
Phillips set a prep record in Tennessee with 4,008 yards of total offense as a senior. He completed 63.9 percent of his passes (161 of 252) for 2,115 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also ran 238 times for 1,868 yards and 39 TDs. He led Sullivan South to a 12-2 record, losing in the state semifinals.
That's the kind of quarterback the Badgers may not have been able to attract before opening up the offense in recent years under offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who recruited Phillips.
"A lot of people have the perception Wisconsin's offense is just hand the ball off to the running back and let him run," said Jeremy Crabtree, the national recruiting editor for Rivals.com.
"It's not a school that's known for going out there and throwing the ball around. We 've seen them open it up a little bit more here and utilize the quarterback. That's why it allowed them to go out there and get a pretty good quarterback in this year's class. "
Phillips, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee, is ranked as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com. Crabtree agrees with other recruiting analysts who think Phillips might be better than his ranking.
"Curt Phillips is one of the most under-ranked and under-valued kids, by a lot of people, in the Southeast," Crabtree said. "When you watch him on film and you watch everything he brings to the table, you can see why Wisconsin jumped in on him early.
"This is a good get. It's going to fit more and more with what they 're wanting to do with their quarterbacks."
The player Phillips is most often compared to is Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, a comparison Sullivan South coach Stacy Carter does not back down from.
"He's not as big and strong as Tebow right now," Carter said. "Of course, he's young. But he benches over 300 (pounds) and he does some stuff like that.
"In some ways, he's got more sheer running talent than (Tebow) does. But he's a quarterback, before anything, don't get me wrong. He's a thrower, before everything. That's just kind of a bonus with him, running the football."
Carter is still mystified how Tennessee let Phillips get away. The Volunteers showed interest but were in the running for higher-rated quarterbacks and didn 't offer. The Badgers liked what they saw and Phillips committed last summer, when his only other offers were from Kentucky, Duke, East Carolina and Middle Tennessee State.
Article courtesy of Tom Mulhern from Wisconsin State Journal
Photo crdit Rivals.com