In the 2016-’17 college football season, Carroll Phillips flourished with the Illinois Fighting Illini to boost his NFL Draft stock.
As a junior, the 6-foot-3, 243-pound outside linebacker was named first-team, All-Big Ten, as well as receiving an honorable mention from the coaches. Even though Illinois’ defense struggled, yielding 31.9 points per game, Phillips notched a was tied for third in the conference in sacks with nine. Let’s find out more about the budding prospect.
Carroll Phillips highlights
Who is Carroll Phillips? 5 things to know
1. Nickname is “Wild Man”
Shortly after Phillips began playing football, he was donned with this illustrious nickname. According to ESPN’s Brian Bennett, he received it because he performed like his hair was on fire. In his senior campaign, he showed Illini fans why, racking up at least one sack in eight of Illinois’ 12 games. In a 24-10 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 17, Phillips even racked up a single-game high two sacks.
“Ever since I played little league, guys would be like, ‘Oh that’s Wild Man, No. 6 right there,’” Phillips said. “So I’ve just carried that all the way up until now.”
2. Played for Copiah-Lincoln Community College in freshman season
Coming out of Miami Central High as the No. 14 overall outside linebacker in the class-of-2011 on 247Sports, Phillips originally committed to Cincinnati. However, he was a half-credit short of being eligible to play for the Bearcats in the 2012 campaign. Hence, he transferred to Copiah-Lincoln Community College and suited up for the Wolves in the 2013 season, amassing 50 total tackles, eight tackles for a loss, four sacks, three pass break-ups, one interception returned for a score and a fumble recovery.
“It was rough,” Phillips said. “You’d have to drive 45 minutes away to get something good to eat. But I didn’t want to go home and work at Burger King or Walmart. I wanted to have a degree to fall back on.”
3. Suffered neck injury as sophomore
After transferring to Illinois for his sophomore campaign, Phillips played in seven contests, recording one sack in the process. Nevertheless, he season was cut short due to a bulging disk in his neck. Despite missing spring camp as a part of his recuperation process, Phillips then switched over to defensive end. While he’s entering the 2017 NFL Draft as an outside linebacker, he played the remainder of his collegiate career at the aforementioned position. Overall, the Miami native accumulated 12 sacks in his Illini career.
“As soon as I stepped on campus (at Illinois),” Phillips said, “I asked the coaches, ‘What is the sack record here?’ I wanted to break it.”
4. Behind the line of scrimmage
Not only did Phillips present a challenge for opposing quarterbacks, but he also was a forced to be reckoned with for the entire opposition. In the 2016 regular season, he finished second in Division I with 19 solo tackles for a loss (TFL). Plus, his 20 total TFLs placed ninth in the nation. That total contributed to him tying former Illini DEs Simeon Rice and Moe Gardner for the most fifth-most TFLs in program history. Expect him to be a similar force in the NFL.
5. Nephew of rapper Luther Campbell
Campbell, who’s also known as “Uncle Luke” from the group “2 Live Crew,” didn’t just involve himself in the music scene. He coached varsity football at Miami Jackson High, located in Miami, for 14-plus seasons. Additionally, he was also reportedly involved in cash bounty scandals from 1986-’92, where he and NFL players would pay members of the Miami Hurricanes’ football roster to make impactful plays. According to the Miami Herald, up to $500 was rewarded as a game-day bounty. Obviously, the now-24-year-old Carroll was born after the incident took place.