Scottie Phillips

Ole Miss running back Scottie Phillips of Ellisville breaks through a tackle against Southern Illinois last season. (LL-C file photo)

 

Ex-SJ, JC star selected to Maxwell Award watch list

Scottie Phillips took the Southeastern Conference by storm last year in his first season as a running back at Ole Miss.

Now he is getting national recognition.

The senior who starred at South Jones and then for the Jones College Bobcats, has been selected to the Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell Award is given to the best all-around college player in America.

Phillips, who earned the nickname “Scottie Toddy” last season, took the SEC by storm from his very first game as a junior, rushing for 204 yards and two touchdowns against Texas Tech in Ole Miss’ season-opener and being selected SEC Player of the Week. 

Phillips finsihed the year with 928 yards and scored 14 total touchdowns in 11 games. 

Following such a phenomenal year, the Ellisville native knows his teammates will look to him for leadership coming into 2019. 

“The biggest difference is just coming back and being one of the vets,” said Phillips. “A guy that’s been through the process and can help other guys through it. This offseason, I challenged myself to take that next step and become more of a leader, just helping the incoming freshmen and the other guys and getting them ready to play.” 

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given annually to America’s College Football Player of the Year since 1937. The only Ole Miss Rebel to ever win the Maxwell Award was Eli Manning, who did so in 2003. Being chosen for such a list comes with great expectations, but Phillips says he is only focused on living up to his own. 

“One personal goal I’ve set for myself is that 1,000-yard mark,” said Phillips, who was on pace to shatter that goal last season before battling injuries late in November. “With me being so close to it last year, I really want to come back and get it this time around. Besides that I just want to win, to be honest. With me having a bigger role this year, I know the team goes as I go, and I just want to leave it all on the field and help win some games.” 

Helping him attain those goals this year will be the Rebels’ new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez, who has become well know for his creative offensive schemes, particularly in the run game. Perhaps the most notable rusher on Rodriguez’s resume is Steve Slaton, who rushed for 1,744 yards his junior season at West Virginia and became a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2006 and played in the NFL. 

Phillips believes playing under Rodriguez could allow both he and his team to take a big step forward in 2019. 

“I’m glad we were able to get him,” Phillips said. “He’s a very smart coach. I think I can learn a lot from him. He’s a guy that’s going to put us in the right places at the right time. All we have to do is make plays.” 

The semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 29, and the three finalists will be unveiled Monday, Nov. 25. The winner of the award will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 12. 

Winners of the award include Tim Tebow (twice), Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton and Barry Sanders.

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