An undrafted free agent running back causes a stir in camp and has people saying the Houston Texans may have found a diamond in the rough? Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, with a cat named Arian Foster, the greatest running back the Houston Texans have ever had.
But we’re not talking about yesteryear. We’re talking about now.
Enter Scottie Phillips
In high school, people knew Phillips was special, even more so when he rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 22 touchdowns in his senior year. He went on to put up another 1,212 yards and 14 scores his freshman year in junior college at Jones County. By his junior year, Phillips had stepped up to play for Ole Miss, facing Texas Tech his first game, where he dialed up a 204 yard, two touchdown performance that earned him SEC Player of the Week honors.
Phillips wound up starting ten games that year, scoring 14 times and ranking 5th in the SEC. Injuries would limit his productivity during his senior season, but Phillips still managed a respectable 4.3 yards per carry on 125 attempts.
The Running Back Academy:
Scottie Phillips is the perfect mix between Le’Veon Bell & Mark Ingram all in one. I love his quick hop, and sudden burst like Le’Veon Bell. He’s also very compact with a decent amount of speed like Mark Ingram.
At 5’8”, 209 lbs., Phillips stature and burst are are reminiscent of Darren Sproles and Maurice Jones-Drew. In an offense that seeks to highlight pass catching backs, Phillips has shown he can do that too.
Phillips was inconsistent at Ole Miss [due to injuries], but showed a lot of promise when he was on. When he flashed, the 5-8, 209-pounder showed great burst, was explosive and was a sure-fire threat out of the backfield.
As you’d expect, Ole Miss’ SB Nation site is also high on Phillips.
His patience, vision and shiftiness are the three key attributes that make him an instinctive runner who can be a handful to bring down. Phillips stacks powerful, firm-planted moves to evade potential tacklers and hit a cutback lanes hard. When he gets to the edge he is a very comfortable outside runner and is fluid in space.
And the folks at Bleacher Report picked him as the Texans’ UDFA to watch:
Running backs who are capable of making defenders look silly while piling up the stats tend to steal the show.
Scottie Phillips out of Ole Miss has a chance to do just that at Houston Texans training camp.
Phillips, an electric 5’8” weapon with plenty of versatility, scored 20 total touchdowns over the last two seasons while posting 1,470 rushing yards on a 5.3 per-carry average and averaging 10.1 yards per catch.
Houston has the David Johnson-Duke Johnson tandem in the backfield. But there is an opening for Phillips to get some third-string looks and put his versatility to use.
While it seems every year the Texans have a running back iwith an exciting amount of potential who never quite lives up to it in camp, Phillips might be the first one to truly follow in Arian Foster’s footsteps as long as he can stay healthy, bulk up, and excel in learning the offense in this unprecedented offseason.
One thing a lot of smaller, scatback types don’t do well is picking up rushers in the passing game. When faced with stopping Alabama Crimson Tide defenders, Phillips did an admirable job:
While we’ve heard all about David Johnson and know a lot about Duke Johnson Jr., Scottie Phillips has an opportunity to put his name on the board. How do you think he’ll fare in the upcoming season? Great change of pace back? Too small to survive in the NFL? Another flash in the pan or the second coming of Arian Foster?