Phillips positively impacts commits, future recruiting

Florida's receiver commits are ready to work with Phillips. (Photo by Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun).

Florida’s receiver commits reacted positively to the hiring of new receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips on Monday.

The Gators have four 2013 wideouts committed and one for the 2014 class, and all five expressed excitement about their future position coach.

Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood): “I’m happy with the hire and I’m ready to see how things are when I get up there. Coach (Will) Muschamp told me Joker Phillips knows what he’s doing and that I’m going to be comfortable with him. It’s nice because I get to go into a situation where I’m making a first impression just like everybody else and there’s no favoritism.”

Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny): “I’m ready to start working with Joker Phillips after the way coach Muschamp was talking about him. He’s been a head coach, he’s been an offensive coordinator and he has a lot of experience with receivers, so I know he’s qualified for the job. And he must be a good guy if coach Muschamp hired him.”

Marqui Hawkins (Columbus, Ga./Carver): “I don’t know much about him, but I hear he’s a great coach and knows my position as good as anyone. That’s great for me, especially coming in as a freshman. When I get to the next level, I need somebody to show me the ropes and I feel like he’s going to allow me to play early because he can teach a lot.”

Chris Thompson (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville): “I’m glad we got a good coach that knows the game of football and the receiver position. I’m ready to see how much he can help me out. He has a lot of knowledge and I’m willing to do anything it takes to get better, so both of us should be able to work well with each other.”

Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar): “I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’ll be there for their practice on Dec. 15 and hopefully we hit it off. His experience actually motivates me to get closer to him because he’s been coaching since 1991 so obviously he’s doing something right.” national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said Phillips is a reputable recruiter that has been successful in the SEC.

“He’s had to recruit for programs that don’t sell themselves, so that means he hustles harder than most coaches and knows how to get the job done,” Farrell said. “He’s recruited the southeast before, so I think this is a natural fit and he’s a guy that relates to kids very well. To have a former SEC head coach come in as your recruiting coordinator, that’s a big boost. The experience on this staff was great to start with, and now it’s even better than it was before.”

Phillips was a receiver for Kentucky from 1981-1984 and began his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant in 1988. He became assistant recruiting coordinator in 1990 and was promoted to receivers coach the following year. He coached the position at Kentucky until 1996 and then served in the same role with Cincinnati, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

Phillips returned to the Wildcats as the receivers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2003 after head coach Guy Morriss and all of his assistants, including current Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease, left for Baylor.

That winter, Phillips played a key role in keeping four-star quarterback Andre Woodson committed to Kentucky. Woodson went on to set the school record for most career touchdown passes (78), the SEC record for most touchdown passes in a season (40) and the all-time NCAA record of 271 consecutive pass attempts without an interception (325).

Phillips was named Kentucky’s offensive coordinator in 2005 and spent the past three seasons as its head coach.

Dating back to 1999, Phillips has coached the No. 2 (Craig Yeast), No. 5 (Derek Abney) and No. 7 (Keenan Burton) SEC career reception leaders as well as current NFL receivers Randall Cobb, Stevie Johnson and tight end Jacob Tamme.


  1. That’s not to say I don’t like the guy. He is a great person. I just felt that way because we just competed against him the past three years. He is a great human being and a good coach. Felt bad he got let go from UK. He had depth and youth problems at UK and couldn’t be consistent there for very long. Not many could. Mark Stoops will find that out soon enough. He left FSU, (good for Him), only to have to face UF every year anyway. He has to know that he is in a uphill battle. UK is going to give him a 900K bonus for a 6 win season. That should tell you all you need to know.

    • In regards to recruiting Texas, money isn’t an issue. I’m sure Muschamp will entertain and pursue a prospect from that state or any other outside the southeast region who has serious in the Gators. But this quote from him back in July suggests he isn’t focused on recruiting nationally.
      “You’ve got a great recruiting base (in Florida). You’re able to have access to really good players. Within a 300-mile radius, you can win your league by recruiting just those players. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

  2. WOW, what a fantastic hire for the U of F. A coach and recruiter with his experience and credentials is a big time plus for the Gator football team and for Gator Nation as a whole. I’m glad we have him for the bowl game and to help seal the deal with the recruiting. GoGators.

  3. Don’t forget that you basically have a qualified offensive coordinator on staff if Pease gets happy feet to take a head coaching job next year. Phillips would be good enough to keep the 2014 class together if it happens. Just a thought.

  4. Wow, some people are negative, no matter what happens! How can hiring Joker feel “awkward” and it’s good that we have played against him over the past 3 years – we know first hand what he can do. He’s a Gator, now – not the opposition.

    Why do we need a pipeline to Texas? In case you haven’t noticed, we have the #1 recruiting class. Boom has more class than Meyer -‘he doesn’t go back and stab the school that helped him get to where he’s at.

  5. Sorry GI, but Joker’s not a “Gator”, any more than Urban Meyer was a “Gator”. He is an employee of the University of Florida (Sate of Florida. He is a hired gun, just like all of the coaches. I certainly hope he does well and us “Gators” hope he wins a lot of games for our “Gator” team.

  6. Why spend the money to go into texas when florida produces more talent in greater quantities year in and year out. I found it interesting that Joker’s current class at UK actually had 7-8 florida players and many from south florida. Seems he has some.good inroads down there. Great hire!

  7. Not many kids from Texas venture east for some reason. Seems like they have great loyalty to some in-state school by the time they graduate. Was hoping for a new recruiting pipeline when WM took the job also but hard to argue with results so far.

  8. Let’s see Graduate assistant Coaching Wide receivers or a fmr Head Coach with Experience.. Sorry but I will take Joker anyday in that.. Just because he didn’t make it as a Head Football Coach at a Basketball school doesn’t mean he wont do good as a Receivers coach here..Looks at some of the players he coached at Kentucky… Maybe Stoops will turn Kentucky around but it’s doubtful.. and remember if he does have success in the first or second year most of the players will have been players that Joker and his staff recruited.

  9. I’m so impressed with Muschamp this season I’m almost gay for him. The wins, the recruiting, the coaching staff, the restoration of the UF culture that has been missing since… Spurrier left? He did it in 2 years.

    If we can keep people around by encouraging them to take only the primo HC jobs in the NCAA then the SEC and the nation will have serious problems playing Florida.

    As far as Texas goes… Do we need Texas recruiting? There are 3 “recruit factory” areas in the nation as far as I can see, South Florida, Texas, and Southern Cal. Then there are areas of higher recruit density and then the rest of the nation has a smattering. UF is the dominant team in the state and I think we will start an Alabama-esque recruiting updraft for our team. Don’t worry about Texas recruits, I think we have the best base to pull from.

  10. Texas, Kentucky it doesn’t matter. Look at our current ranking, #1 right? Look at the Talent from this state that we were (and still are) after that has for the time being sought playing time elsewhere. The kid from JAX. Sandalwood(AL), Tunsil (GA), Henry (AL) and there are others that are top talent. Go back and look how many were lost to out of state teams. M point here is to Hell with other states recruiting, if we can get the top talent from right here in FLORIDA, not even counting the great talent we get from GA. we would wear that #1 ranking each year. WM and staff are doing a GREAT JOB, that should be no question in anyones mind. GO GATORS!!!!

  11. I think this is a great hire. I don’t question Muschamp and what he does. He’s clearly got my vote.
    S/n: Did any of you hear any information about us being in the mix for MacKensie Alexnder? Saw that he’s finally opened up about his thoughts on his recruitment and Florida is on the list? Man…landing him with VH, Marcell, Nick, Keanu…that secondary would be absolutely shutdown!! Also, saw DT M. Adams won’t be able to make his OV this wekend. Tough blow there cause we can use him bad! Hopefully, he’ll reschedule. Love the direction we’re headed in. Any info or thoughts would be great!! GatorNation Rise up!

  12. Joker will do very well at Florida but lets clarify a couple of things.

    1.We do not want any player that is/was committed to UK.
    The players from Florida on the UK roster are the left overs once the big boys get what they want. Nearly every school in America feeds at the state of Florida trough after the big guys finish.

    2. We do not need to recruit Texas, we have the best players in America right here, why go there and deal with all the notorious cheating that Texas leads over there. We already deal with that from Bama, et al so why ask for more?

  13. After leaving UK football, there is no doubt that coach Phillips is very hungry! I can’t wait to see what he brings home from his hunting trips. And I am sure he will especially enjoy our romp over Louisville in the Sugar Bowl!

  14. Good Lord. Can’t we all just be grateful that we’ve got a qualified coach who wants to help our team? The Gators are freakin’ loaded. Muschamp is entrenched. The future is brighter than it has been in at least a decade. I’m ecstatic about this hire, all of the recruits, and dang near anything else you can name regarding Florida football.
    2012 was/is better than any of us could have possibly asked for or ever imagined.
    Go Gators! Win or lose.

  15. All of this is just good stuff. I can see Fla’s offense blossoming next year with the talent, the maturing of the young players and with the influence of Joker Phillips into the program. POTENTIAL, SPEED, CONTINUED GROWTH AND MATURITY, OUTSTANDING RECRUITING, AND INTENSE COACHING, I SEE FLA JUST TAKING OFF, THE SKIE THE LIMIT. GO GATORS.

  16. Hopefully, Joker will be the one to get through to Debose. Also, I am curious to see how the WR’s play in the bowl game. Joker will be doing some coaching, for the bowl – I assume or he’ll be on the road, recruiting.