Sergio Phillips’ football career hasn’t always consisted of clogging holes on the defensive line. In fact, Phillips came into college on the offensive side of the ball.
Phillips was a three-star recruit by Scout.com, ESPN and 247Sports.com that played on the offensive line at DeSoto High School. As a senior, he had 94 pancake blocks and allowed zero sacks. That led him to an all-state first team selection. The guy could play.
Phillips decided to play college ball at San Diego State over other schools like Nevada, Memphis, New Mexico and New Mexico State. It was at SDSU that Phillips made the transition to defense. Phillips said he definitely enjoys playing on the defensive side more than offense.
“I’d rather go hit somebody than just sit there and let a linebacker come smack me,” Phillips said.
Phillips played in just seven games his freshman season, but made a lot of progress as he moved up from No. 4 on the depth chart to No. 2 at defensive tackle.
Things changed up a bit in his sophomore season. He was moved back to offensive line for his first six games, but finished his final two games on the defensive line due to an injury on the defense. Phillips remained on the defensive line for the rest of his career.
In his junior season, he logged 42 tackles and three sacks. He finished out his senior season with 40 more.
Now Phillips is looking to take his talents to the NFL. In preparation, Phillips participated in the College Gridiron Showcase in Addison, Texas. The showcase gives NFL Draft prospects like Phillips the opportunity to be scouted and evaluated by NFL personnel. Phillips said it was a great opportunity to show NFL coaches he can play at the next level.
“It was a great atmosphere. I learned a lot from the defensive line coaches there,” Phillips said. “It was just a great experience for me.”
One of the biggest things Phillips learned at the showcase was rushing the passer. Phillips said San Diego State was more focussed on stopping the run, but the NFL is all about speed.
“The No. 1 thing I took home with me was the pass rush,” Phillips said. “At my school, we were more run stoppers. We didn’t really get into our pass rush. So I learned the speed rush is the most important thing NFL teams want to see.”
Phillips was able to talk to the Rams, Raiders, Jets and Packers at the showcase. They gave him some positive feedback and told him he might be moving to the outside in the NFL.
“They told me I might play defensive end because I lost 20 pounds,” Phillips said. “They told me just work on my pass rush and keep eating right so I’ll be healthy and have a good pro day.”
Phillips said he believes he is one of the most aggressive players on the field. If he can combine that with a perfected speed rush, look out.
Sergio Phillips Scouting Report
Phillips is a little bit undersized for an interior defensive lineman at 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, but being undersized doesn’t always mean as much as people think. One of the best players in the league is Aaron Donald, who stands 6-foot, 284 pounds. At the next level, Phillips will need to add more strength to be able to match up with NFL offensive linemen.
He is quick off the snap of the ball, which is a huge plus. After that, he uses his speed and quickness to squeeze in between blockers in an attempt to get to the ball carrier or quarterback. Phillips doesn’t get to the quarterback often, but some of that is by design, as he played in the middle of a three man front. His effort and ability to keep blockers on him enables the rest of the team to go get the ball carrier.
When he wasn’t in the game, the Aztecs’ defense saw a noticeable decline against the run. He is versatile, as he played nose tackle, can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 and even saw some time as an offensive lineman at San Diego State. His toughness also won’t come into question, as he played with his right hand in a cast against Wyoming in 2016.
At the end of the day, Phillips has a couple of competitive advantages that should help him draw the eye of NFL teams. He is quick off the snap, athletic with quickness, tough and versatile.
Full interview for Sergio Phillips:
Featured image from Sergio Phillips’ Instagram @sergiophillips
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