It’s been a busy weekend for 2023, four-star forward Cade Phillips.
The prospect from Jacksonville, Alabama headed to Knoxville for his second official visit of the fall. Phillips arrived on Friday and took part in the Tennessee-Georgia football game on Saturday afternoon before watching Rick beat Barnes’ basketball team ETSU.
“It was a fun time,” Phillips told VolQuest. “We went to the football game on Saturday and that was nice because it was a good game for a while, then the basketball game on Sunday. It was really nice to be able to watch both on the same weekend.
“We should just hang out. Coach Barnes was great at making it seem like I was part of the team and like it was just a normal day. We woke up, watched a movie, watched training, had lunch with the team, watched another movie, did another shoot-around, watched them train. Coach Barnes did a really good job of making me feel like I was on the team and trying not to show it more than what it is. That was really good.”
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound postal prospect of Jacksonville High School has been ranked as the No. 68 overall player in the class of 2023 by Rivals.
High school basketball candidates are allowed five official visits during both their junior and senior years. On Phillips’ first trip to see the Vols, he just wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the show.
“I wanted to see what the atmosphere was like with the players and the coaches,” Phillips said. “Just how they played and interacted with each other. That was something I really wanted to see. I definitely need to see that. They love being around each other and that was cool to see at the college level.
“They are good. I was impressed with their forward play. Olivier had 23 so I was impressed with their forward play. We will see how this weekend goes for them with some top level competition. That will be be cool to watch.”
Phillips returned home Sunday afternoon with a parting gift from Barnes: a scholarship offer.
“That was pretty sweet,” Phillips said of the offer. “I’ve been talking to Tennessee for a while, so when they invited me to an official, it was cool. Sunday afternoon we had the last meeting of the week and Coach Barnes offered me. It was a pretty cool experience. And I know Tennessee isn’t that big on offering guys, so that made me feel good.”
Phillips’ father, John David Phillips, played quarterback in Alabama, while his mother, Reagan Croyle Phillips, played basketball in Alabama. He is also the cousin of former Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle. His grandfather, John Croyle, played football for Bear Bryant in Alabama
The Alabama Legacy received an offer from Alabama in January and made an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa in June.
“They see me as a mismatch in the three or the four. A man who is too fast for the big boys and too big for the little boys. They want to use me as a hybrid by moving me around and giving me space to work. I just want to allow myself to be a playmaker. That offense is quick and it fits well. They really tried to make sure I knew that.”
Phillips previously visited Georgia during the first weekend in October and plans to visit Stanford at some point. As for his three other junior visits he can use, he plays it by ear.
Tennessee, Stanford, Memphis and Georgia are currently the teams that have the most contact with Phillips.
For now, Phillips still considers himself open as he is still in the early stages of his recruitment.
“We’re still very open,” Phillips said. The perfect time would be to win a state championship. We will make a list that day. That would be ideal timing, but we’ll see. We play it by ear and now feel things.
“My relationship with the coaches and the way they treat their players will weigh heavily in my decision. Plus my fitness and development. Those are the two things I’m looking for, because I want to get to the next level.”