PHILLIPS, Cameron Virginia Tech #5
6:00.2 202 12/16/95 SL-SE
Bench Press Squat Power Clean Grade One Grade Two
225x17 n/a n/a 7.77
Arms Hands Wingspan Vertical Jump Broad Jump
32 ¼-inches 9 ¼-inches 77 3/8-inches 32 ½-inches 9-feet/8-inches
Time (40-yd) Time (20-yd) Time (10-yd) 20-Yd/60-Yd Shuttle Three-Cone
4.44 (hand) 4.54 (electronic) 2.56 (hand) 2.63 (electronic) 1.57 (hand) 1.63 (electronic) 4.20/11.66 6.88
2017 Best Games West Virginia, Delaware, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Clemson, Miami, Pittsburgh
2017 Worst Games Boston College (foot injury), Duke
2016 Best Games East Carolina, Miami, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Clemson, Arkansas
2016 Worst Games Liberty, North Carolina, Duke
2015 Best Games Furman, East Carolina, Boston College, Georgia Tech
2015 Worst Games Ohio State, Purdue, Virginia
2014 Best Games East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Virginia
2014 Worst Games Ohio State, Western Michigan, Duke
Body Structure Phillips has a lean and muscular frame with room to add more bulk without it affecting his excellent quickness. He displays a tight waist, defined legs (thighs, calves and ankles), developed abdomen, good bubble and high cut legs with well-developed hamstrings. He possesses good width in his shoulders and chest and low body fat.
Athletic Ability Phillips has good overall muscle development and appears to have more than enough strength to defeat the jam. He demonstrates an explosive burst coming off the snap and the loose hips to make defenders miss when weaving through traffic. He shows that second gear to turn a slant pass into a long gainer and with his exceptional second gear and burst, he can easily eat up the cushion and get behind his defender. He is much more than just a receiver, as he has the lower body power to handle some of the rushing load (see 2016 North Carolina and Pittsburgh games) and break tackles working through the pile. He also displays the vision and patience to follow his blockers and then turn on the after-burners to beat the defense down the sidelines. He has outstanding hip snap and agility to elude in attempts to gain big yardage after the catch. He makes smooth body adjustments and possesses solid hands and extension to catch away from his frame. He has outstanding balance, speed and change-of-direction agility. He shows the second level speed and explosiveness with a fluid natural running motion to run past most defenders in isolated coverage.
Football Sense Phillips has incredible vision and a great feel for locating the soft spots on the field. He might take his eyes off the ball a few times, but is quick to recover and settle under the pass. He needs a bit of route refinement (in 2017, he showed a more disciplined route tree – see East Carolina, Old Dominion and Miami games), but is alert to pocket pressure and works back quickly when the quarterback is flushed out. He shows keen awareness on the field, especially with keeping his feet along the sidelines. He is quick to settle into the holes in the zone and is very effective as a cut blocker because of his feel for taking angles. He finds the open areas quickly and does a nice job of working back for the ball, but at this stage of the game, he relies more on his speed rather than football experience. He is a good learner who needs just a few reps, thanks to solid retention skills.
Character Phillips could be the university’s “poster child.” He is a warm-hearted character, displaying a work ethic that even the most impatient coach will fall in love with. He has no character issues and he does a good job of concentrating on academics. He has a positive approach to the game and likes his leadership role and ability to mentor the younger players. There is no “prima donna” attitude to him whatsoever. He has good football bloodlines, as his father, Raymond, starred at North Carolina State as a defensive end and spent two seasons in the NFL.
Competitiveness Phillips is not the type that plays with a swagger, allowing his final statistics speak volumes for his competitive nature. He is fearless going for the ball in traffic and will sacrifice himself without hesitation to make the play (see 2017 Duke game). He loves to compete and is very confident with producing when his number is called during crunch time (has a school-record 37-straight games with at least one catch). He is very tough and aggressive going for the ball, and in the last two seasons, he has worked hard to take on a more aggressive approach when facing up as a blocker. When on his “game,” he will give a good, consistently high effort and he always comes prepared to play. He would sometimes frustrate the coaches by driving through a defender rather than taking the ball out of bounds, as he has a solid frame, but is not bulky enough to play “smash mouth” football.
Work Habits To Phillips, football is important to him. He is a good worker in all areas, a team-first guy who is generally the last to leave the practice field. He is not the type that needs to be pushed a bit in the weight room, an area that he always embraces. He has not been in the limelight, as others less worthy occupied that space, but you have to appreciate a lunch-pail type who has quietly become a very consistent performer.
Release There might be quicker receivers in this draft class, but Phillips simply explodes out of his stance and past a lethargic defender to instantly get into his patterns. He has that natural second gear to gobble up the cushion and get behind the cornerbacks on deep routes (see 2017 West Virginia, East Carolina and Miami; 2016 East Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia games). He needs to sink his pads more (gets too erect at times), but it is hard to mirror him once he gets past his opponent. He also generates decent hand usage to beat the press. He shows outstanding foot quickness and hip shake with suddenness when trying to change direction (excels at freezing defenders at the line of scrimmage). The thing you notice mostly on film is his exceptional acceleration to get up field once he creates the lane. Unlike most speedsters, he does not dance too much at the line and that allows him to show outstanding quickness in his release, with the shiftiness and avoidance ability at the line of scrimmage to defeat the press. Even though he is still developing strength, he does a good job of pushing off the defender and quickly eludes with his swim move.
Acceleration Phillips’s burst has that “catch me if you can” label for defenders to view as he races by. Once he gets a clean release and into the second level, it is nearly impossible to slow him down. He has great body control and adjustment skills to maintain stride and speed running through tight quarters. He might not look like he has size to run through traffic, but with his low pads and burst, he easily creates separation to turn the slants and fades into big gainers. He is reliable catching the ball (secured a nation-high 85.39% of the passes thrown to him in 2016 and has a 74.07% success rate in 2017). His exceptional second gear is more evident on deep patterns, where he consistently gets behind the defender. He has good leaping ability, but just adequate timing for some strange reason this year, leading to the defense batting away eight passes (had none deflected in 2016). If a defender hesitates, Phillips can change gears and beat his man. He is quick to uncover and even quicker to separate on short patterns. He shows exceptional ability to get open deep, displaying that superb burst needed to take the ball to the house.
Quickness Phillips is blessed with outstanding quickness on the field. He makes short and sharp cuts without having to break stride and his initial burst is sudden, especially when left uncontested. He can avoid defenders on the move, create lanes and get up field in an instant once he gets a clean release. It is rare to see him get “too busy” with the press corners at the line of scrimmage and he quickly gains advantage on the defender due to his speed. He has a good feel for knowing when to gear down in order to prevent from out-running the ball.
Route Running This was probably Phillips’s weakest area until this year, as he has consistently run a more sophisticated route tree as a senior, perhaps due to playing wide than in the slot. He still rounds his cuts at times and will drift in and out on long patterns when he gets too tall in his stance, but if you need a receiver to fly off the line, especially on posts, this is where he excels. He has shown marked improvement on comeback routes and displays good urgency working back when the quarterback is flushed. He displays excellent quickness and foot speed in and out of his breaks. When he plays at a low pad level, he gets into his routes immediately. He shows good set up and body control and knows how to use his hands to prevent the defender from attacking him and trying to reroute him with a strong push.
Separation Ability Phillips showed improvement sinking his hips and exploding out of his breaks as a sophomore, but does struggle to separate when he comes off the snap with an erect stance. While operating as a slot receiver, he excels at taking slants and crossers for big yardage rather than lining out wide. He is still a work in progress when it comes to setting up defenders, but he has made great strides in using better head and shoulder fakes, even though he will still rely more on his burst and second gear to elude. Still, that speed and burst allows him to consistently get past defenders. He is very quick out of his breaks, especially when trying to pull and separate with vertical routes and short runs, but must be more conscious of playing with a low pad level.
Ball Concentration Phillips shows consistency with his body control and quick ball reaction skills to extend and snatch passes along the sidelines. He has the hands, arm length and extension agility to dig out the low throws, but is most comfortable tracking the ball over his outside shoulder, doing so without having to throttle down and break stride. He has good concentration and keeps his keep eyes on the ball in flight. He has continued to do a fine job of recognizing coverage and being aware of the sticks, and he is very adept at working his way back for the pass. Phillips shows great concentration, natural hands and ball security this year (had ball distribution issues as a ball carrier early in 2016 – see Liberty and Tennessee games), doing a good job of shielding the ball from the defender. He maintains tremendous focus going for the ball in a crowd and is known for making acrobatic catches look routine. He is alert to boundaries and sticks, showing a good feel for the soft spots working underneath. He excels at making proper body adjustments on the move and is very capable of tracking the ball in flight.
Ball Adjustment Phillips shows good courage going up for the ball to high point the pass in traffic. The former prep high jumper has the functional strength to hold up to punishing hits he takes going over the middle. He shows the ability to make proper adjustments on ball and is very athletic to turn his body around as he tracks the ball well. His flexibility and ability to turn allows him to excel at adjusting to the off-target passes. This season, Phillips is displaying outstanding reach and arm length to get to off-target throws, along with showing excellent body control keeping his feet along the boundaries. He can rise off the ground and get to the ball at its highest point, demonstrating great elevation and timing, but for some reason, he has not had the jump-ball success that he had in past years, leading to eight targets being deflected (see 2017 Clemson and Duke games). He is a tough cookie taking on defenders to get to the ball in tight areas and uses his hands and body control to adjust to the ball underneath.
Leaping Ability Phillips runs hot and cold in this category. For a player with his impressive vertical jump in workouts and for one with decent size (shade over six feet), it is puzzling to see all the passes he had batted away from him in 2017. He has good leaping ability, showing the proper explosiveness to go get the ball and out jump, especially on deep patterns, but needs to time his leaps better to be more efficient.
Hands Phillips has the natural hands and good ball security skills to excel as a receiver, on the reverse and when returning kicks. He looks natural getting elevation and extension to catch outside his frame and if he drops a pass (see 2016-17 Clemson games), it is usually the result of momentarily losing focus. He has soft, natural hands, extending well to catch away from the body’s framework. He will revert to body catching, at times, but is a soft hands catcher who just needs to learn how to time his leaps properly to get to the pass at its highest point.
Run After the Catch Phillips is an exciting and electrifying open field runner. He shows outstanding skill set in terms of speed, quickness, agility and change of direction. He is tough to bring down in isolated coverage and does a nice job of sidestepping low tackles. When he is out in front, he will generally win most foot races (see 2017 West Virginia, Delaware and East Carolina games). He shows good route progression acceleration and can stretch the defense with the way he comes out of his breaks cleanly. He won’t beat a quick defender on foot speed alone, but with his long legs, steady acceleration and excellent array of moves, he is very capable of getting big gains after the catch. He has the lateral agility to work for the ball in space, and has developed a second gear to should see him take the ball to the house vs. the speedier NFL defensive backs next year. He will need to add more bulk and muscle tone to his frame to compete for room to run vs. the more physical opponent in the pro ranks, though.
Blocking Ability Phillips is an effective cut blocker, but does not have that great “blow you up” type of strength. He’s more of a pester-type cut blocker, but shows willingness in this area. He will get walked back in attempts to block at the line due to a lack of “sand in his pants,” but he will not hesitate to face up to blitzers working in the backfield or along the line. He is alert to coverage and does a decent job of seeking out and neutralizing defenders in the second level while assisting the running game.
Compares To WILLIE SNEAD-New Orleans Saints…While the New Orleans receiver is just rounding into shape after a season-long injury issue, you can see a lot of similarities in Phillips’ game here and also in their demeanor. Like Snead last season, Phillips is putting together a very solid under-the-radar season for the Hokies as their split end this season, but after excelling out of the slot in 2016, he could be destined to return to that role in the NFL. With his obvious success there as a junior, he can provide any pro quarterback with a solid security-blanket receiver. His 76 receptions out of the slot in 2016 led the NCAA, as did his ability to catch 85.39% of his targeted tosses as a junior in the slot, compared to 74.07% as a split end this season. If he is placed in a system similar to the one used in Seattle, New Orleans or New England, he has the chance to have a breakout season as a rookie.