For the Love of Football
By Rakia Achab
While many fantasize playing professional football, 23-year-old Shakim Phillips is a man who took the ball and ran with it. Phillips, an aspiring NFL wide receiver, was born and raised in New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2014, and he is currently attending Boston College for graduate school. Phillips will compete in the draft to the NFL, which occurs from April through May.
In second grade, Phillips joined a flag football team and he fell in love with the sport. In addition to football, Phillips played four other sports: basketball, baseball, boxing, and track and field. His uncle coached him throughout his Little League sports games. “When I was a child, my mom and my uncle Nate inspired me to play and compete,” said Phillips. As he grew older, new role models sparked his attention. Players such as Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, and Chad Johnson became significant influences and inspired his football-oriented goals. Phillips wanted to pick up the advanced techniques that his idols demonstrated.
Phillips attended DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, N.J., where he continued his involvement with basketball, track and field, and football. There he worked hard to prove himself in his favorite sport – football. His hard work paid off and he received a Division 1 scholarship.
Presently, Phillips is in Miami training for the upcoming draft begining on April 30th and ending on May 2nd. His schedule is busy and intense. He practices Monday to Saturday and leaves himself Sunday to rest. Phillips’ practice days start at 5:50 a.m. and they end after 4:00 p.m. Around 8:00 a.m., his routine consists of a speed session, which involves running mechanics and proper form technique. After the speed session, Phillips trains for position drills. As a wide receiver, he practices his stance and start, route running, cone drills, catching passes, and hand-eye coordination. After a short break, he is back to work at 2:00 p.m. performing wonderlic prep, which is a fifteen-minute IQ test. When 4:00 p.m. rolls around, it’s time for recovery, including massages, foam rolling, and leg drain.
If Phillips gets drafted to play for any of the 32 professional NFL teams, it will be an honor for him. “I’m not sure if I like any team more than the other. Since I’m from New Jersey, I would like to stay close to home or be close to my family,” said Phillips. If Phillips were to play close to home, he would be interested in the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. As Phillips faces the upcoming draft, his hard work and dedication will be key. Phillips believes that chasing his dream is a marathon, not a sprint. Each day he tries to become a better player than he was the previous day. “Every day matters and every rep counts,” said Phillips.