See all resources

Pro Recruiting Story Series: Q & A With John Phillips

About John

John Phillips, current tight-end for the Dallas Cowboys, was a defensive end at Bath County High School in Hot Springs, Va. While at Bath, Phillips earned several awards including first-team all-state tight end (as a junior and senior) as well as all district honors in both baseball and basketball.

Phillips attended the University of Virginia where he posted the second-best performance by a Cavaliers tight end in school history. He played and started all 12 games, earned first team All-ACC honors, and was a team captain.

In 2009, the Dallas Cowboys used their second selection in the sixth round (208th overall) of the draft to pick up Phillips.

Q & A

Q: During high school, what sports were you playing? And did you know all along that you wanted to play football in college, and then professionally?

A: I was a three-sport athlete. I played baseball, basketball and football. I always knew I wanted to play professionally, but I didn't know if I wanted to play baseball or football. I wanted to play either.

Q: When did you start getting interest from college coaches?

A: I started getting interest around my sophomore year, but was heavily recruited during my junior year. To be honest, I was fortunate that I had schools approaching me.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose the University of Virginia? How many other schools were you looking at?

A: I looked at about 3 or 4 different schools but felt that UVA would give me the best opportunity to make it to the NFL. That was my ultimate goal. Everything I did was all about reaching that goal.

Q: Who was pivotal in helping you through the recruiting process and why?

A: Hands down…my dad. We actually think a lot alike, and I know he, more so than anyone else, was always looking out for my best interest.

Q: What was the most challenging part of the recruiting process, if any?

A: Tearing my ACL in high school. It was a crucial time and being sidelined was tough. It was stressful thinking about whether or not I dropped off of a coach’s radar, and seeing who still had me high on their board spot.

Q: You tore your ACL in college too, and then again last season with the Cowboys. What advice would you give to athletes who suffer setbacks in the form of injury?

A: Set goals. Pray. And, most importantly stick to your rehab. Do what you have to do [to get back out there]!

Q: What do you think are the three most important qualities college football coaches look for in potential players?

A: Athletic ability. Coachablity. And intangibles such as a player’s drive, determination, etc.

Q: What were some of the lessons that you learned your freshman year of college that still hold true professionally?

A:  First and foremost, I learned how to balance my own responsibilities.  It was a time I really grew as an athlete, and as an adult.

Q: What tips or advice do you have for student-athletes who want to continue their sport past high school?

A: You have to remember that you are a STUDENT-athlete in college. You have to have the grades to be able to play.


You might also like…


NAIA Showcases - What, When, Where?

Individual sport showcases are a one-day, one-stop for prospective student-athletes and their parents to connect with NAIA schools. Participants have the opportunity to learn about the NAIA, its recruiting and eligibility rules and...


Calling All 2015 and 2016 Grads

Are you graduating in the spring of 2015? Beginning June 15th, the NCAA officially deems you a senior in the recruiting process. This means you can start receiving an unlimited amount of phone calls from Division 2 college coaches. D2...


Top 5 Things NOT To Do During The Recruiting Process

Now that you have put together your profile and are starting to connect with coaches it is important to know the things NOT to do! Many times, one mistake can put you at the bottom of the pile. In order to help prevent you from getting...