East Nashville senior Jacob Phillips’ college future is still up in the air.
Regardless of where the linebacker ends up, however, Eagles coach Brian Waite is sure of one thing.
“The future is bright for Jacob Phillips,” said Waite, who is entering his fifth season at East Nashville. “We’re going to miss him when he’s gone, but he’s been a blessing to coach.”
Phillips, who transferred from Beech to East Nashville prior to his junior season, made an instant impact for the Eagles last fall, finishing as the team’s leading tackler while also garnering Defensive MVP honors in Region 5-3A.
“I think the best things that he does is that he plays very well in space, and he takes coaching really well,” Waite said. “That’s the thing I’ve noticed over the past year and a half. His ability to take information you give him, process it and apply it on the field.”
Phillips, a four-star prospect and the nation’s 10th-ranked inside linebacker according to 247Sports, comes in at No. 4 on this year’s Dandy Dozen, a list of top senior college football prospects in Middle Tennessee as selected by The Tennessean high school sports staff with input from area high school coaches and recruiting services.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Phillips excelled last season, registering a team-high 122 tackles while quickly rising up the national recruiting charts. However, the Eagles struggled to an 0-4 start, and, despite securing a third straight Class 3A playoff appearance, finished with a 3-8 record.
Phillips, whose top college choices include Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon, thinks that things will be different this fall.
“We’ve dedicated ourselves (this offseason) to getting conditioned, getting stronger and getting faster, and working on the little things,” Phillips said. “With the little things, big things are to come. I don’t think we ever want to go back to the point we were last year.
“We’ve had some ups and downs in some scrimmages, but it is always to get better. I think as a team our camaraderie is united more, and we’re becoming more brothers and looking out for each other.”
No. 4 – Jacob Phillips
East Nashville, Linebacker
Height: 6-3 Weight: 225
247Sports composite: Four stars
College plans: Considering scholarship offers from Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon.
2015 statistics: Phillips, a 2016 Butkus Award finalist, tallied a team-leading 122 tackles with 2 1/2 sacks and an interception for the Eagles.