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Draft Buzz: Catching up with Ball State CB Antonio Phillips

Antonio Phillips Ball State
Ball State has a big-time playmaker in their secondary named Antonio Phillips. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds scout Jon-Michael Salter.

By Jon-Michael Salter

“When you watch the tape, I mean forget about all the noise. The talk about where he plays, all that jazz, that likes to be said. Let me make this clear, I know personally, I don’t care where he played at. Football is football, and this kid can play football. He is a hell of a player. Watch his tape, and you see a guy who is willing to do all the little things it takes, to be great, and to help his team win. I like him, man, I really do. I enjoy watching his tape, I enjoy watching him do what he does. I am a defensive back guy, I love scouting them, I love watching different styles to do the same thing basically. Watching Antonio Phillips is a fun watch. He can play, put him in man, and forget about him. Put him on zone and watch him create havoc. I think he needs work like all players to do. But his issues are coaching fixes. These things can be developed, and I really think he will be on a roster, and getting a real shot.” -NFC West scouting source.

Every once in a while you watch a kid play, that just blows you away. When you see the potential of a real difference-maker. Not to say he doesn’t need work, but has the look of a real player, at the highest level. Ball State CB, Antonio Phillips, to me is one of those guys. With great size, 6′ 192 LBs, a great build, and quick feet, Phillips, has the look of an NFL cornerback. What stands out about his play, is his willingness, to take on a block, and help in run defense. He is a tough kid, very scrappy, and the personality to match. Not cocky, but aware of his skill set, and ability. I sat down with the rising star and had a chance to pick his brain, a bit.

Knowing what he has done on the field. the tools he brings to the game, and the nasty play, that shakes, opposing offenses. I wanted to know who he was off the field? and what he felt he brought to a locker room?

“Man, I want to be the best me, so outside of football, you see a guy that is always working. One way or the other, I will get in some work. I am a family man first and foremost, and I take that to the locker room with me. I do, I feel like these are my brothers, these are the guys, I battle with every week. So I like to have fun, I am not wild, but I like to have fun, with my guys. I like music, I like to hang out with my friends. But I think before all of that, I am family first. In the locker room, I always want to be a leader. I know at the next level I will be the little brother, but you can lead by learning too. So that’s what I am gonna do, I am gonna learn.”

After watching the tape, I made the mistake of asking what most watching him play, ask. How did a guy with your talent end up playing at Ball State? While I meant no disrespect, to make it clear. I agree that football is football, but I had to ask how he didn’t end up playing at a bigger school?

“See there you go with that (Laughing), man I know you hear it all the time, football is football. I know we can play with anybody. I feel like we got one of the best cornerback duos. I know we got one of the best receiver groups, and we got a running back (Caleb Huntley) that is going to be great in the NFL. So who cares where I play, they showed me the things I like. it felt like home being here (Ball State). From day one, they treated me like family, and that was important to me. So I felt like it was right for me. I guess you could ask that question to a ton of players on this team, but it doesn’t matter. they gonna say the same thing. At the end of the day, you still have to produce. No matter if you are in the SEC, or here in the MAC.”

As we get closer to the NFL Draft, you will hear Antonio Phillips, name a ton more. With his play, great size, and being a good locker room guy, there will be a few teams wanting the young talent. Something he got to learn a bit about, from his older cousin LB Markus Golden, from the Arizona Cardinals. With all the talk about Phillips being drafted, I asked him how he deals with the buzz? and what advice he has gotten from Golden?

Honestly I could care less right now. I mean, it’s cool, and I appreciate it and all, but it doesn’t matter until I get to that point. When we get done with the season, I can set my attention to that, but for now, I stay focused on the games IN front of us. I need to stay focused on getting better every day. Those are some things that Markus tell me. He is just saying that, and to take it one day at a time. To get better with every practice, and to work my butt off, and don’t worry about outside noise.”

While Phillips isn’t concerning himself with the NFL Draft and playing at that level. I promise you there are tons of fans, media, and NFL people alike, that have an interest in the young star. Adding a talent like Phillips could help any NFL roster. Like I always say, when discussing these college prospects. Just put on the tape, and I promise you will come away, sold on this kid’s potential. I for one, am excited to see what he does at the net level.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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