Could Devin Phillips be everything Kansas football’s interior defensive line needs?

LAWRENCE — After Jereme Robinson sat down to talk about Kansas football starting fall camp earlier this month, a question about the Jayhawks’ efforts to replace production along the defensive line soon followed.
All four regular starters from last season finished their college careers in 2022. That means there’s playing time up for grabs. And among the players Robinson, a junior defensive lineman, mentioned that the team will look at to step up, was redshirt senior defensive lineman Devin Phillips.
Phillips, who came to Kansas by way of Colorado State, is one of the latest transfers to sign on to head coach Lance Leipold’s rebuild. This fall, he’ll be one of the newcomers who’ll look to help the Jayhawks reach another bowl game. And as Robinson would later state, Phillips could be exactly what they need in an interior defensive lineman.
“He’s outstanding,” Robinson said about Phillips. “I think he’s the nose guard that we truly look for, that good tree stump that you really can’t move. He’s fast. He’s agile. Like, I love that he came here.”
Phillips has starting experience dating back to his freshman year at Colorado State in 2018. He’s listed on Kansas’ roster at 6-foot-2 and 325 pounds. The path to being a key part of the defense is there for Phillips, if he can continue to acclimate well ahead of the 2023 season opener.
Jayhawks defensive coordinator Brian Borland said Phillips has been a really good leader for them, considering he joined the program this spring. Borland added Phillips both has a personality guys gravitate toward and shows everyone how to go about each day like a pro. And from Borland’s perspective, Phillips can be more than just someone who takes up space.
It’s something Phillips seems to think about himself, too, as one of his goals this season is to try to compile at least eight sacks. That, as well as become a first team, All-Big 12 Conference player who helps lead Kansas to a Big 12 title game. And defensive tackles coach Jim Panagos certainly has faith in him.
“It is really hard to come in as a freshman and play defensive line,” Panagos said. “It’s about strength. But besides strength, players that are freshmen got to have the right character and the right toughness. And that’s what he is. He has great character. He has great care level. He’s really tough. He’s heavy. He’s strong. And he plays with a really flat back.”

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