By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-Delshawn Phillips was as patient as he could be. Two years at a Junior College will change your perspective on things. But patience can only last so long, especially when you’re as competitive and fiery as Phillips.
Well, finally, after two years, the Michigan native is getting his chance in the NFL as it was announced earlier this week that he made the 53-man roster for the Buffalo Bills and will be available for Sunday’s regular-season opener vs. the New York Jets.
“Delshawn was a major reason we won a championship,” former Head Coach Jeff Sims said. “He’s always had a championship attitude. He just knows how to make people around him better.”
Phillips spent two seasons at Garden City Community College, helping the Broncbusters win the program’s first National Championship in 2016. He recorded 95 tackles, 12 for loss and two sacks that year, landing on the All-Jayhawk team. Those numbers also catapulted him up recruiting boards as 247Sports had him ranked as the No. 2 linebacker in the nation while ESPN had him third.
“That team was loaded with guys, but Delshawn was kind of the glue guy,” former assistant Rico Cherico explained. “I mean that defense was as good as it gets, and he was one of the main reasons why.”
Following the 2016 campaign, Phillips, who originally signed with Western Michigan after leading powerhouse Cass Tech to the City Championship in 2014, transferred to Illinois, where he was named an All-Big Ten honorable mention his senior year. In two seasons, he started 21 games, tallying 180 tackles including a team-best 95 in 2018.
But still, Phillips went undrafted in 2019, instead signing as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. But that tenure didn’t last long as the former three-star recruit was waived days before the regular season.
“In 26 years of coaching, he is one of the best at requiring himself and his teammates to require the best of themselves.”