The running back position has been a mystery at Ole Miss when Hugh Freeze was in charge. Despite signing numerous talented backs throughout the years, the run game has never been a huge factor in the Rebels’ offense. Well, Phil Longo’s brand new offense erased all that after Jordan Wilkins had a humongous senior year, running for over 1,000 yards.
In fact, he’s the first Ole Miss back to do that since Dexter McCluster did it in 2009(!). Well, the Rebs and Phil Longo got some good news this morning when junior college running back Scott Phillips signed on the dotted line to make it official. He originally committed to Ole Miss back in July.
The running back from Ellisville, Miss. picked Derrick Nix and the Rebs over offers from LSU, Miami and Mississippi State, among others. The rising JUCO sophomore led Jones County in rushing last season with 1,112 yards on 222 carries while scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground.
His stellar freshman campaign landed him on the NJCAA All-American team after he finished the year first in the MACJC in rushing yards and third in the country in yards per game (123.6). Then, this season, he ran for 1,070 yards and 13 touchdowns and was ranked as the top back in junior college football.
How does he fit in?
Phillips is a big back who is a true one-cut runner with deceptive speed. The 5’9, 205-pound back is going to get the tough yards between the tackles and certainly won’t shy away from contact. Although he doesn’t have home run speed, he has exceptional lateral quickness and is very good out of the backfield. Phillips is familiar with the zone read concepts and shows impressive vision when hitting the hole and making the first man miss at the second level.
Once Phillips arrives in Oxford, he will be competing for carries with D’Vaughn Pennamon, Eric Swinney, and Isaiah Woullard. The JUCO commit should give all three a run for early playing time if he stays healthy and can pick up Longo Ball once he arrives. Ole Miss’ new offensive coordinator does like to keep fresh bodies on the field so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that they all play, but I think Scott will have his time to shine for sure.