On Thursdays over the summer, The Juice Online is going to highlight individual players on the 2015 Syracuse football team. This week, we’re profiling H-back Ervin Phillips.
Erv Phillips has been entrusted with one of the most critical roles on SU’s offense this year.
Phillips will be Syracuse’s hybrid back, or “express” back, as the coaching staff calls it. The position requires a jack-of-all trades athlete who will line up in a variety of different positions in an effort to create mismatches on offense.
On any given play, Phillips will be at tight end, in the slot, on the wing or in the backfield. He could be asked to help on a blocking assignment, or catch a pass in the flat and make a play.
All of this has Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer excited, not just about the position itself, but the person playing it.
“When you look at Erv Philips (and the other H-backs) […] we saw them play on both sides of the ball, we saw them running the ball, catch the ball, return punts,” Shafer said. “We have some very good athletes at that position that can give us some good, at bare minimum, mismatch problems for the defenses.”
That’s exactly what Phillips did as a true freshman in 2014. Phillips was second on the team in all-purpose yards (727), handling kickoffs, taking hand-offs and even hauling in 14 receptions.
The sophomore becomes even more important to the offense after H-back Ashton Broyld was dismissed from the team in July. Phillips is listed on SU’s pre-season depth chart as the No. 1 H-back, with Ben Lewis at two and freshman Tyrone Perkins leapfrogging Broyld.
“Erv’s done a really nice job. When you see him out at practice, you’ll see what I’m talking about,” Shafer said. “He’s a focused young man who’s excited to play that H-back position, that ‘express back’ position.”
- Birthdate: January 1995
- Hometown: West Haven, Conn.
- High School: West Haven
- Position: H-back
- Class: Sophomore
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 181 lbs
Career highlights: Phillips was named to the Spring 2015 Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. In his freshman year, he rushed for 194 yards on 45 carries, hauled in 15 receptions for 57 yards, and returned 25 kickoffs for 476 yards.