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January 13, 2014

Comparative Analysis: Phillips

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PROSPECT ANALYSIS: wide receiver Cameron Phillips, Dematha (Md.) (committed July 31, 2013), No. 223 in Rivals250, No. 40 wide receiver, No. 7 in Maryland

He hasn't even been on the coaching staff for a full year, but Aaron Moorehead has made quite a splash since coming to Blacksburg. His receiving corps, which consisted of mostly first-time players, showed consistent improvement throughout the season and finished with a solid outlook for 2014.

Even with most of the receivers coming back (exception of D.J. Coles), there is a chance for Moorehead's prized recruit to make an impact right away. Phillips has earned every bit of his four-star rating while being an impressive playmaker at perennial powerhouse Dematha (Md.). The 6-foot, 178-pounder doesn't have overly exceptional physical skills, but there is no question Phillips is a pure wide-receiver.

What makes him separate himself from others is something that likely jumped out to Moorehead the first time he saw the Maryland product. Phillips is a highly-advanced route-runner, and this is evident throughout his senior highlight tape as he gains separation from defensive backs on a consistent basis. Head-fakes, stutter steps, and shoulder movements are all in Phillips' arsenal, and he makes it quite easy for his quarterback on numerous plays by being so open.

Phillips doesn't have elite speed (yet), but his agility while running routes makes up for that pretty easily. He also will have to work on catching the ball with his hands a little more, as he does have quite a few catches in his body, but he still shows impressive strength on a few deep balls. If Phillips works his tail off from the moment he gets on campus and bulks his frame up, he could be a valuable asset early in his career at Virginia Tech.

Phillips has all the tools to be a touchdown-machine at the collegiate level, and it helps to see on a couple of plays that he has the ability to produce solid blocking downfield. This was certainly a very solid get for Moorehead and the Hokies.


CURRENT VIRGINIA TECH COMPARISON: redshirt freshman WR Joshua Stanford

Stanford burst onto the scene with a remarkable 171-yard performance against Boston College on November 2, and finished with 640 yards on 40 catches in his first year of full on-field action. The 6-1, 196-pounder provides the body-type that Phillips should develop into (currently 18 pounds lighter) once he gets into the weight room.

Stanford could be characterized as the best route-runner of the group, and that was fully evident in the performance against BC. However, Stanford also likes to catch the ball with his body a little too often, something that Phillips also needs to work on. The two players are already very similar, both have high ceilings, and it will definitely be interesting to see the two improve together over the next few years.


PAST VIRGINIA TECH COMPARISON: WR Corey Fuller (2011-12)

He only played for two seasons, but the second-oldest Fuller sure made a serious impact during his redshirt senior season. Fuller managed to haul in 43 passes for 815 yards (19 yards per catch) and was able to find the end zone six times. Fuller was 6-2, 196-pounds in his playing days in Blacksburg before moving on to the Detroit Lions, and Phillips should hope to get to around 190 considering he's two inches shorter.

Fuller didn't own breathtaking speed, but his agility and football smarts led to him being an extremely effective route-runner in the slot. He had the ability to make defensive backs look silly in coverage with head fakes, and Phillips will be doing a lot of things Fuller could do if he achieves his full potential. There's no question about it, Phillips has the tools to become every bit of the reliable receiver/blocker/touchdown scorer that Fuller was.



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