Our countdown of the top 10 Hokies continues on to our number 4 player who started for two seasons before Justin Fuente and his staff got here, with the offensive coaches making a simple shift from the outside to the slot that allowed this player to take off this past season and has him within striking distance of breaking some of Isaiah Ford’s records in 2017.
That man is Cam Phillips.
With Bucky Hodges moving outside to wide receiver, the Hokies regularly started three wide receivers with Cam Phillips sliding inside to be the Hokies’ featured slot receiver. The move worked for Hodges decently well, but it worked quite well for Phillips as he went on to have what was by far the best season of his collegiate career.
Phillips had the best season of his collegiate career by far in 2016 as he had 76 catches for 983 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns while also having 140 rushing yards on 30 carries. Phillips got better and better as the season went along with a stellar second half of the season that included Phillips having at least 6 catches in 7 of his 8 final games along with having 2 games with at least 100 receiving yards for the first time in his collegiate career.
Phillips became a nightmare for opponents working out of the slot as the guy that opposing defenses really couldn’t find a way to contain in part because of how they also had to deal with Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges, but also because even nickel cornerbacks had trouble staying up with Phillips while also seeing the junior break his fair share of ankles.
Looking ahead to next season, Phillips will return as the one proven offensive weapon and the face of the Virginia Tech offense after his great season for the Hokies along with the fact that Isaiah Ford, Bucky Hodges, and Jerod Evans are all gone. Phillips definitely has the potential to break some single-season and career records held by Isaiah Ford in part because of the young receivers that will be around Phillips next season.
After Cam Phillips’s breakout 2016 season, the Hokies should also leave him in the slot even with the youth that the Hokies have on the outside at receiver because of how good Phillips was this past season as the guy that Jerod Evans could dump the ball off to in some cases or cause nightmares for opposing linebackers, safeties, and even nickel cornerbacks. Defenses may adjust some next year by putting a top cornerback on Philips wherever he goes, but Phillips in the slot can also help create mismatches on the outside.
Cam Phillips has emerged as one of the stars for Virginia Tech and returns as the face of the offense looking ahead to the 2017 season.