Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Phillips picks U.Va. football

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Georgetown Prep senior football player Colter Phillips began the college recruiting process in earnest this past spring, when he mailed off a slew of highlight films to prospective suitors from around the country.

But before those tapes made their way through the mail, Phillips was already something of a known commodity. He has his older brother, Andrew, a former Little Hoyas lineman who now plays at Stanford University to thank for that. And now, the younger Phillips will follow his brother into Division I-A football after committing to the University of Virginia in April.

‘‘He’s been on teams’ radars for a long time,” said Georgetown Prep football coach Dan Paro of Colter Phillips. ‘‘It kind of helped that he always traveled around with his brother. He went to a lot of places. They got to meet Andrew and they got to meet Colter.”

Those who kept a watchful eye over the years saw Colter grow into a prototypical college tight end prospect, both in stature (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) and in skill (soft hands, fierce blocker). That led to looks from schools around the country, including scholarship offers from Virginia, Stanford and Wake Forest (N.C.).

Phillips, from Darnestown, quickly chose to cast his lot with the Cavaliers, a program that compiled a 5-7 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference last fall under head coach Al Groh.

‘‘I committed there because I just felt really comfortable there,” he said. ‘‘It’s close to home and I love the whole atmosphere over there. The way they use their tight ends is a big factor, as well. They play three tight ends in their offense. I definitely thought I could see the field early. I just felt it was like the best place for me.”

His early commitment allowed Phillips to concentrate on becoming bigger and stronger. He gained roughly 30 pounds of muscle over the past year.

‘‘He’s filled out and he had a great year last year,” Paro said. ‘‘He has phenomenal hands. He can block and he looks great on tape. These college football programs I hear from, everything is so much about character. You don’t have time to baby-sit all of these guys. If you’re able to get a guy who can play, take care of his grades and who’s a true citizen to a community, you want him.”

As a junior, Phillips, one of four captains on this year’s squad, hauled in 11 passes for 185 yards (17-yard average) and a touchdown. He also made 47 tackles (28 solo) with three sacks, as the Little Hoyas compiled a 5-5 overall mark and a 2-3 record in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.