Young Namesakes Players to Watch for 2016 Battle at Bristol
Sharing the offensive spotlight with fellow first-year standout Isaiah Ford, wide receiver Cam Phillips has risen to the top of Virginia Tech's depth chart more quickly than his coaches anticipated.
"I felt like at some point those guys [Phillips and Ford] would be big-time contributors," Wide Receivers Coach Aaron Moorehead said in a recent interview with the Washington Post. "But to think at this point, four games in, that both of those guys could potentially be starting on Saturday, I wouldn't have told you that."
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound freshman has played in all six games this season, four of them as a starter. The Laurel, Md. native was the lone starting receiver in the team's Week 2 win against Ohio State and led Hokie receivers against Georgia Tech the following week with 89-yards on seven catches, scoring the first touchdown of his career.
Phillips impressive numbers have helped Tech football return to the win column, adding 47 receiving yards and 29 rushing yards in last week's victory over conference rival North Carolina.
As the young star, who still sports braces on his bottom teeth, develops into a dangerous on-field weapon for the Hokies, the team hopes his growth not only bolsters their efforts towards a playoff berth but ultimately puts them in the win column when they reach college football's biggest stage - the 2016 Battle at Bristol.
Tennessee sophomore Cameron Sutton ranks second in the SEC with three interceptions in his five starts this season.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back is tied for the conference lead in number of passes defended at seven and has racked up 20 tackles in 2014 with 3 tackles for a loss.
In 2013, the first-year player from Jonesboro, Ga. became the first true freshman to start in the Tennessee secondary since 2011 and further inked the Volunteer history books as the first true freshman to return an interception for a touchdown since Eric Berry in 2007 - a turnover that started the team's NCAA record-setting run of four consecutive forced turnovers on four consecutive plays.
Despite his impressive numbers, Sutton is still searching for an edge.
"You never become satisfied with the way you play," Sutton said in an interview before the Vols' week 5 loss against Georgia. "You are always trying to get better. I know I have to keep working each day in practice. I'm getting more accustomed to the college game. There is a lot of studying you have to do with your playbook and watch film."
In 2016, his playbook will contain defensive sets for college football's largest game - the Battle at Bristol. Set to take place in the infield of Bristol Motor Speedway, Sutton and his Volunteer teammates take on the Virginia