(WTNH)–It wasn’t long ago that Ervin Philips was running over and around opponents on the Connecticut high school football fields.
An all-state player for the legendary Ed McCarthy at West Haven High School, Philips traded in his high school blue for college orange.
Signing with Syracuse is a decision he doesn’t regret. One of the nation’s leading pass catchers, Philips continues to make his hometown proud.
Last weekend, he came home to play against the team he grew up rooting for–UConn.
“It took some time ot get used to the college atmosphere, but I really like it,” Philips said. “I’m really enjoying myself up there.”
Philips has embraced the challenge of being a D-1 student-athlete. His grades are great, and on the field and in the locker room, he’s a leader.
“I look at myself as a leader, someone to make plays,” Philips said. “Communicating is the most important thing to me, being on the same page as my guys.”
His teammates aren’t afraid to dollow. Eric Dungey has worked closely with Philips. The sophomore QB looks up to one of his favorite targets.
“He was the guy I came in and looked up to as a freshman. It was Erv, he’s right by my locker, so he’s been a good guy to me,” Dungey said.
Philips started his career in the backfield, but after a head coaching change, he moved to wide receiver full-time.
The junior has made the transition look easy.
Through four games, Philips has hauled in 36 passes–sixth best in the country.
“I’ve played receiver before, so it wasn’t nothing new,” he said. “It just took some time to sharpen my iron, to work on my craft and I got better.”
“He’s a dynamic player,” Dungey said. “He’s very shifty. The things he does in practice are incredible. I have good chemistry with him, and I’m happy he’s here.”