Central Michigan has fared well producing NFL offensive linemen over the years.
Andy Phillips hopes to have an opportunity to continue that trend.
The Waverly graduate is the latest draft hopeful from a CMU program that’s produced NFL offensive linemen Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, four-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley and Charlotte native Brock Gutierrez.
Phillips, who is being represented by Carter Chow of California-based Yee & Dubin Sports, is hearing he could be a late-round selection in this week’s NFL draft or land with a team as a free agent.
“To me that’s all I really want (is an opportunity),” said Phillips, who was a two-time captain for the Chippewas and a first team All-Mid-American Conference selection last season. “I don’t care if it’s drafted in a late round or it’s free agency, I just want to get into a camp. To me, once you’re in to a camp it’s all about who can play and I know I can play at that level.”
The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Phillips has tried to showcase his versatility and durability throughout the pre-draft process. Phillips was a fixture on the offensive line for the Chippewas over his final three seasons, starting 43 consecutive games to conclude his career. He made 38 of those starts at guard during his final three seasons and also earned All-MAC honors as a junior.
Phillips made five starts at center as a redshirt freshman and performed some of his drills during CMU’s pro day snapping the ball to showcase that ability.
“Most teams actually like me as a center and guard,” Phillips said. “I’m 6-foot-2. I’m not the tallest guy but they like the quickness and versatility I show. To me, it doesn’t matter which one they want me at. It’s the fact that I can play three of the five positions on the offensive line.
“It’s that versatility alone I think will help make a case for me when it comes time to see what happens. It doesn’t matter to me which one of the three of them I play, it’s as long as I get an opportunity.”
Phillips has spent the last few months trying to give himself the best chance to earn an opportunity. A few weeks after CMU’s season ended in the Bahama Bowl, Phillips headed to Exos in California to train with other draft hopefuls. He worked with six-time Pro Bowl lineman Doug Smith while in California.
Phillips returned to Michigan for CMU’s pro day last month and has remained at school working out the last few weeks. He’ll make his final preparations this week and then hope to hear some good news while following the draft with family and close friends this weekend.
“Not everybody gets a chance to live out their very first dream,” Phillips said. “When I was a kid it was I want to play in the NFL. To actually have the opportunity and a chance to possibly do that, it could be a dream come true.
“I love the game. I don’t know where I’d be without it. It gave me an opportunity to get a college degree with no debt and it really just allowed me to meet a bunch of great people and allowed me to continue to do the things I love. If I could keep doing that as a career that would just be amazing.”