Phillips had a solid showing in the spring game in April, completing 7 of 13 attempts for 57 yards and one touchdown. But looking up the depth chart and seeing three underclassmen above him, the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder decided to help his program at another position.
"I went in and talked to Coach [Butch Davis] about what kind of role I was going to be playing on the team," Phillips said. "And we just talked about a possibility of me moving, and so they worked me out [at tight end]."
The coaching staff was impressed with Phillips' athletic ability, and allowed him to make the switch. The most difficult aspect of the move has been learning the grunt work.
"It's just some of the blocking schemes – just learning the technique of how to block is what I've really got to work on here," Phillips said. "Just become more physical and get a little stronger in the weight room. Work hard, practice and get the new position down."
Phillips said he expects to play on various special teams units this fall, as he has already cracked the two-deep on the kickoff return and on-side kick units.
The change has been a smooth adjustment for the former South Carolina first-team 4-A all-state quarterback. He's taking the move in stride and has even found some humor in the situation.
"After I went to tight end, we went to goal line and they took an offensive lineman and put him at tight end for one of our goal line things – a tight end pass," Phillips said. "So it's kind of like they [robbed] us there at tight end.
But no, we throw it to the tight end and H-back a ton, so we should be able to get the ball a lot."