Widgets Magazine

Phillips ruled out for USC with knee injury

Following the conclusion of Friday’s practice, the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal announced that defensive lineman Harrison Phillips will not play in Saturday’s game against USC due to a knee injury.

Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips has been ruled out for the matchup against USC on Saturday with a knee injury. This is another major setback for Phillips who medically redshirted last season after tearing his ACL in the Cardinal's first game against Northwestern. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

Defensive lineman Harrison Phillips has been ruled out for the matchup against USC on Saturday with a knee injury. This is another major setback for Phillips who medically redshirted last season after tearing his ACL in the Cardinal’s first game against Northwestern. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

Phillips, who went down in the third quarter of the Cardinal’s season opener against Kansas State, received good news during Stanford’s bye week that his injury would not be season-ending or require surgery. The initial expectation was that Phillips would miss several weeks of the season, but the junior challenged that prognosis by progressing faster than expected, maintaining his spot at the top of the depth chart at defensive tackle and participating in individual drills in practice. On Tuesday, Stanford head coach David Shaw called Phillips’ chances of playing on Saturday a “50-50” proposition.

The loss of Phillips strikes a major blow for the Stanford defensive line, which will now have to operate without one of its key pieces up front. Against Kansas State, Phillips recorded 3 tackles, including 1 sack, and consistently caused trouble in the backfield.

With Phillips officially ruled out, fifth-year senior Jordan Watkins will likely get the start at defensive tackle. Watkins is coming off of the best performance of his career against the Wildcats in which he notched 3 tackles, including 2 sacks, one of which resulted in a safety.

“The biggest thing for Jordan is to play as hard as he played last week,” Shaw said about the possibility of Watkins replacing Phillips in the starting lineup. “He understands what to do and how to do it…If Harrison can’t go, we have every confidence that Jordan’s going to go out there and play a great game.”

The announcement is another devastating setback for Phillips, who missed nearly all of the 2015 season after tearing his ACL on the Cardinal’s opening defensive series against Northwestern. On that drive, Phillips looked dominant, bursting into the backfield to deflect a pass — his only box score stat from last year.

After being thrown into action at defensive tackle as a 255-pound true freshman in 2014 following an injury to David Parry, Phillips earned a medical redshirt after his 2015 injury to regain a season of eligibility. No timetable is set for the Omaha, Nebraska, native’s return, but Phillips is expected to play again this season.

Stanford kicks off against USC at 5 p.m. this Saturday. The game will be televised on ABC.

 

Contact Vihan Lakshman at vihan ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Vihan Lakshman

Vihan Lakshman's journey at The Stanford Daily came full-circle as he began his career as a football beat writer and now closes his time on The Farm in the same role. In between, he has served as an Opinions columnist and desk editor, a beat writer for Stanford baseball, and as a member of The Daily's Editorial Board. Vihan completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematical and Computational Science in 2016, and is currently pursuing a master's in Computational Mathematics. He also worked as a color commentator on KZSU football broadcasts during the 2015 season. To contact him, please send an email to vihan 'at' stanford.edu
  • Candid One

    Phillips’ unfortunate absence last year was partly covered by the offense’s nation-leading ball control, time-of-possession, which rested that thin defensive front and reduced their exposure to opponents’ offensive threats. Hopefully, that kind of assist from the offense is forthcoming again this year, regardless of the deeper defensive line.