KETK – COVID-19 not only shut down sporting events across the country, it’s also created new obstacles for East Texas athletes getting ready for the NFL draft.
But former Gladewater and Louisiana College tight end Sam Phillips says he won’t let the current pandemic keep him from making sure that top level scouts see exactly what he can do.
These are unprecedented times, and for NFL hopefuls such as Phillips, an already difficult process has become even more challenging.
“It’s tough, but the thing is, everybody, is kind of in the same position at the same time,” said Phillips.
Phillips played most of his high school career in Gladewater, before moving to Arkansas his senior season.
He played tight end at Southwestern Oklahoma State for two and a half years and finished his college career at Louisiana College.
He qualified for a pro day workout at Louisiana Tech, but like everything else in sports, it was canceled.
“I feel like the hardest thing about all of this is, probably just the unknown, kind of not being in control of the situation,” said Phillips. “It’s kind of tough with the NFL, they don’t know what they’re going to do because with all the COVID-19 stuff going on as well.”
He’s been working out in Baton Rouge with LSU and Pittsburgh Steelers great Ryan Clark, but as he made his way back to East Texas, he got rerouted to Arkansas, due to the latest news on the radio.
“I had to kind of think outside the box a little bit and I actually have family up here that own fitness centers and that didn’t click until it was that last resort type of thing,” said Phillips.
On March 8th, Phillips will head back to Baton Rouge for a mock pro day, which will be sent to all 32 NFL teams.
“It’s kind of crazy how things work out, and I’m very blessed to be in a position to where I actually have a chance,” said Phillips. “It’s kind of surreal at times but you know, you go to give thanks to God and stay grounded and stay humble and stay working.”
Phillips, along with so many other prospects, aren’t asking “Why me?” instead, they want to know, “What’s next?”.
The NFL Draft remains scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
Watch the video to see Garrett Sanders’ story.