Illinois Lands Highly Coveted JUCO Linebacker Recruit DelShawn Phillips


Like most Illinois fans, Lovie Smith must have really not liked what he saw out of his team this season.

So, going into his second year with the Illini, the former Bears coach is going with some junior college band-aids.

The latest piece of patchwork came Wednesday as highly coveted JUCO linebacker DelShawn Phillips flipped from Arizona to join Lovie’s 2017 recruiting class.

(An aside, check out this pretty great video from Phillips’ Twitter feed)

Phillips is Smith’s second high-profile get of the JUCO recruiting season, joining fellow JUCO transfer Dwayne Lawson, a quarterback who actually was Phillips’ teammate at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

While Lawson once played at Virginia Tech, Phillips was originally a Western Michigan commit straight out of Detroit’s famed football factory Cass Tech.

Phillips will be replacing Hardy Nickerson, who was a graduate transfer from California and filled the gaps for one season for Smith and his father of the same name, the Illini defensive coordinator.

According to Jeremy Werner’s story for, Phillips put up some big numbers in Nowheresville, Kan.

Last season, he led Garden City with 95 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. Phillips … also had four pass break ups, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Phillips was highly ranked after the big season, as the No. 15 JUCO prospect, according to

Another nice players, to be sure.

But what does this mean for the future of the Illini?

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