Reese Phillips is standing by his commitment to the University of Kentucky football program and said he plans to enroll there in January.
"Yeah, I'm solid," said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Signal Mountain quarterback who committed to the Wildcats on Aug. 13.
There have been rumors at least since the Wildcats (1-3) lost in overtime to Western Kentucky on Sept. 15 that current coach Joker Phillips would be ousted by season's end.
Following that loss to WKU, the coach said, "I'm built for this. I was 0-10-1 [as a player at UK in 1982]. All we talked about was 'Stay together. We'll get it turned. Stay together.' Then 6-6, 9-3 (in 1983 and '84). I've been around some head coaches that I've gotten a chance to watch go through this. We're fine. I'm fine."
Regardless, a list of possible replacement candidates is making the rounds. It includes former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel; Bobby Petrino, the former Arkansas, Atlanta Falcons and Louisville coach; Mike Leach, the current Washington State coach who formerly headed the program at Texas Tech; and Phillip Fulmer, who hasn't been a head coach since he was ousted in 2008 by Tennessee despite a 152-52 record.
"I haven't done or heard anything to make me 'not solid.' Kentucky is probably the best situation for me regardless," said Reese Phillips, an preseason all-state pick.
While other schools have begun checking on his availability, according to Signal coach Bill Price, he said he is not wavering.
"I plan on graduating early and enrolling at Kentucky in January. I'll be on scholarship starting then," the Eagles' Phillips said.
Coming off a 38-0 shutout loss at Florida, the Wildcats will host sixth-ranked South Carolina this Saturday night with a banged-up starting quarterback (Maxwell Smith) and a backup quarterback (Jalen Whitlow) who's a true freshman.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...