Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wickliffe running back Tiontay Phillips' potential is unlimited

I did my first high school football preview of the season today and I was impressed with what I saw at Wickliffe.
The Blue Devils were plagued with injuries last year and went 3-7.
This year, they are determined to have a winning record.
They should have high expectations with a running back like 5-foot-9, 210 pound Division I recruit Tiontay Phillips.
Last year after Wickliffe's first and second string running backs went down with injuries, Phillips stepped in. Despite playing in just eight games (he was sidelined for two with a major concussion), he finished with 1,158 yards on 192 carries (6.0 average).
It's hard to believe last year was his first season of varsity football.
He decided not to come out his freshman year because he was "intimidated" by highly touted senior running back Nick Ranallo. Just imagine if he would have come out?
How dangerous would a tandem of Phillips and Ranallo have been? Ranallo finished 2011 with 1,129 yards on 200 carries (5.6 average).
"I was close friends with a lot of the guys on the team so I decided to join last year," Phillips said. "Coach Porcello and I got really close. I promised him I would come out and we would do good things together. That's the reason I came out."
Phillips said his performance last year has motivated him this season.
"Being 3-7 last year makes me want to strive for more," he said. "That's not enough. Even though I rushed for as many yards as I did, it's still not enough.
"No one looks back at the stats. They look back at how far you've actually gone. The goal right now is to make to the playoffs and become the key guy like Kareem Hunt and the other good players around Lake County. I just want to build on that and hopefully help our team win some big games."

When a player is driven like Phillips, his potential is unlimited.
He got a taste of what it felt like to be successful last year, and it's motivated him to have another 1,000 yard season this year.
Phillips may regret not coming out his freshman year, but it looks like he's planning to make up for it in his final two seasons with the Blue Devils.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

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