Darius Phillips has been making a name for himself for a while with the Western Michigan Broncos. He pulled off two long touchdown returns against the Michigan State Spartans in 2015, returned three of four interceptions for touchdowns last season (setting a single-season Mid-American Conference record in the process) and added a punt return touchdown and a MAC special teams player of the year award, and came up with a game-tying 100-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ opener against USC last week.
Phillips continued the highlights this week when Western Michigan again faced Michigan State, returning a fumble for a touchdown and recording another touchdown on a kick return. Here’s the fumble return, from the third quarter:
This is just impressive straight-line speed from Phillips. He picks the ball up near his own 35 and is just gone, with no Spartans’ player having a real shot at him. But he has plenty of elusiveness as well, as you can see from this fourth-quarter kick return:
That’s remarkable from Phillips, as he not only shows off speed, but also his ability to maneuver through a crowd. And it won him plenty of praise:
Kicking to Darius Phillips. Unnecessary and unintelligent.
— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) September 9, 2017
Darius Phillips now has 13 career touchdowns, scored 5 different ways. (5 KR, 4 INT, 1 PR, 1 FR, 2 receiving) @ESPNStatsInfo @hornungaward
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) September 9, 2017
Darius Phillips again with a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD. Second of year, second vs. MSU in three years.
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) September 9, 2017
Darius Phillips will be playing on Sundays. Not sure there is a better kick returner in the country.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 9, 2017
Yep, it would seem likely that Phillips has a NFL future ahead. But even before that, he has plenty still to do with Western Michigan. He provided all of their points in Saturday’s 28-14 loss to Michigan State (despite the Spartans being well-prepared for him), and he’ll likely be crucial to any further success the Broncos find this year.
[Matt Clapp on Clippit]