Monday, September 25, 2023

Phillips possibly moving from hardwood to gridiron


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Middle Tennessee’s basketball season ended a few weeks ago after a magical run in the NCAA tournament. For one Blue Raider on MTSU men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis’ squad, the grind is beginning all over again.

Junior forward Joshua Phillips donned a blue No. 80 jersey and practiced with the MTSU football team Tuesday afternoon, ending his four-year absence from football.

“He wanted to come out and try it and see,” MTSU football coach Rick Stockstill said. “We’re going to ease him in to it a little bit. It’s so much different than basketball, but it’s good to have him out here. He’s got a great attitude.”

The 6-foot-8 forward reached out to Stockstill about the possibility of practicing with the team. It’s currently a “feeling-out process” for both Phillips and Stockstill, given his hiatus from the football field.

“Probably not even that right now,” Stockstill said when asked whether Phillips is considered a walk-on. “It’s not a permanent decision or anything. It’s more of him experimenting a little bit. He’s just feeling his way around a little bit to see if he wants to do this.”

The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native took reps as a tight end and saw a decent amount of non-contact reps in the early stages of practice from MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill.

“It’s the least learning that he’ll have to do,” Rick Stockstill said as to why he put him at tight end. “We’re just easing him in and protecting him a little bit, and just seeing what he can do out here.”

Although it’s the first time he will suit up in a Blue Raider football uniform, Phillips, along with some of his family members, has a background in football.

Phillips played football for three years at Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville serving as a tight end and defensive end.

His brother Jacob Phillips is currently a highly-recruited linebacker out of East Nashville.

The elder Phillips isn’t the first MTSU athlete to attempt to play both football and basketball. The last Blue Raider to play both sports was former wide receiver Tavarres Jefferson.

For more sports stories, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact Sports Editor Connor Grott, email or follow him on Twitter @Connor_Grott.


  1. I believe that the switch from basketball to football could turn out to be beneficial to Phillips career. Although the intense change from basketball could cause issues for Philips. Basketball is an intense sport, but it is nothing compared to the intensity that many football players grow use to. Basketball is far from an extreme contact sport and that may be the biggest fact that Phillips will face. It is hard going form the occasional bump and bruises to being tackled by 6’5 250lb men coming at you full speed. Philips seems to come form a line of athletes that focused on the sport of football, also playing him for three years in high school, so the concepts should come easy. Although they stated that all of this is just a test run I believe it could end up being a new switch, it is not odd to hear of college athletes switching sports, its actually very common even though in the new age you do not here many stories on it. We all will have to just wait an see how this all plays out, because who knows we may have a new star football athlete on our hands here at MT!

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