Phillips’ NFL dream comes true

Published 9:48 am Friday, May 3, 2024

Andru Phillips has wanted to play in the National Football League for as long as he can remember but he heard the doubters when he declared for the NFL draft after his junior season even though he had 47 tackles, five pass breakups and 1.5 tackles for loss in 2023.

However, his belief in himself was rewarded when the New York Giants took him in the third round of the NFL draft with the 70th overall pick.

“I took a big gamble (by going into the draft) when I left school and came into the draft,” Phillips said. “I had some decent grades coming into the draft. I just had to trust who I am and make the right move. I trusted I would be able to perform during the draft process and show who I am.”

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He took advantage of invitations to the Senior Bowl and NFL combine to impress NFL scouts and then did the same at UK’s Pro Day in March.

“I put my head down and worked to get where I am today. This just shows how hard I worked,” Phillips said. “This was not in the game pan when I declared but we all knew I could get there if I worked as hard as I could.”

Phillips is an elite athlete. He ranked No. 1 in the nation in high school in the triple jump and won the South Carolina 2019 state championship with a leap of 49 feet, 4 inches. He also ran the 100 meters in 11 seconds, the 200 in 23.07 and 400 in 54.88. He recently ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds, had a 42-inch vertical jump and 11- standing broad jump.

He’s not worried about whether the Giants play him inside or outside. He moved to the outside last year for Kentucky and “worked to be the best” without questioning defensive coordinator Brad White.

“At the start of the season it was a little bumpy. When I found my footing I became a dog on the outside,” Phillips said. “Going to the league I realize I am not a finished book. Great coaches can make me a better player outside as well. I am confident the organization can get me to be a great player.”