Sophomore defensive tackle Harrison Phillips announced Tuesday on Twitter that he suffered a torn ACL in the Cardinal’s Saturday game against Northwestern and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2015 season.
“It’s now time to trust in the plan God has for me,” Phillips wrote in his statement. “I ask simply to keep me in your prayers. It’s going to be a huge challenge to come back from but I am at the best place and have the best staff to do it.”
Phillips will retain three more years of eligibility after this season, as he plans to seek a medical redshirt for 2015.
The former top recruit out of Nebraska played in six games last season at nose tackle despite weighing just 255 pounds, filling in after injuries to both Aziz Shittu and David Parry decimated Stanford’s depth at the position. Although Phillips had been recruited out of high school as a defensive end, he made the switch over to defensive tackle due to Stanford’s continued lack of depth at nose in 2015. He defended one pass against Northwestern on Saturday.
In preparation for becoming Stanford’s full-time starter at nose tackle, Phillips put on 23 pounds during the offseason and worked tirelessly on his conditioning and technique to meet the grueling physical demands at the position. He was expected to be one of the Cardinal’s breakout stars on the line and was named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Pac-12 Fourth Team.
Sophomore Solomon Thomas, who had been listed as Phillips’ backup at the position in the Cardinal’s first depth chart of the season, will slide over from defensive end to become Stanford’s de facto starter at defensive tackle. Fifth-year senior transfer Brennan Scarlett will assume Thomas’ vacated position at starting defensive end.
The injury is all the more concerning to Stanford because defensive line is arguably the team’s area of least depth, with Stanford only having played four linemen in its regular rotation at Northwestern and only having two game-ready backups (Jordan Watkins and Nate Lohn) waiting in the wings. Watkins will figure to see much more playing time in light of recent events.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.