Pac-12: Bill Phillips

Celebrating standout seniors

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
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Not every player earns All-American or All-Conference honors. Not everyone plays in the NFL. But lots of guys turn in outstanding college careers, even if they don't get a lot of publicity.

Here are some outstanding senior Pac-10 players, none of whom made first- or second-team All-Conference teams.

Arizona: NT Lolomana Mikaele
The fifth-year senior was a co-captain this season who matured significantly during his time in Tucson. He missed the 2008 season because of a suspension for violating team rules, but he returned in 2009 and 2010 as one of the Wildcats quiet leaders and became well-respected by his teammates. He started all 12 games and finished with 32 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss.

Arizona State: S Max Tabach
The Scottsdale native grew up a Sun Devils fan: He's quoted in his bio as saying that "the day he received a scholarship from ASU was 'one of the best days' of his life." Despite only starting six games -- out of the final seven -- he tied for third on the team with 64 tackles. He also chipped in a sack and two interceptions. He was ASU's most consistent safety in 2010.

California: C Chris Guarnero
It's not easy to replace the best center in program history: Alex Mack. And Guarnero is not terribly big -- 6-foot-2, 270; Mack is 6-5, 316 -- but he started 27 career games and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors the past two seasons.

Oregon: WR D.J. Davis
Davis, the Ducks second-leading receiver, has started 20 games, but his 36 receptions for 410 yards don't tell his whole story. For one, he's a tenacious blocker, a key part of the Ducks rushing success the past two seasons. Second, he's a class guy. Davis, who in high school won the Watkins Memorial Award as the nation’s top African American male scholar athlete, was so moved by the death of Notre Dame student videographer Declan Sullivan, he decided to make a touching tribute this season.

Oregon State: WR Aaron Nichols
Nichols is a former walk-on who ended up tied for third on the Beavers with 29 receptions for 330 yards. When the Beavers needed a clutch play this year -- particularly after James Rodgers went down -- Nichols was often the go-to guy. And he's been accepted into Oregon State's highly competitive Doctor of Pharmacy Program.

Stanford: OG Andrew Phillips
Phillips is the unsung leader of one of the nation's best offensive lines, and he played well this season despite a heavy heart: In August, his father, Bill Phillips Sr., died in a plane crash.

UCLA: DT David Carter
Carter never started until he was a fifth-year senior, yet he led all Bruins defensive linemen with 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Further, he's a history major and honor roll student.

USC: FB Stanley Havili
Havili is a four-year starter who's made so many big plays he's hardly "unsung." But he's still underappreciated. He was named USC's Most Inspirational Player Award and was named Co-Lifter of the Year. He played the entire season with a shoulder injury. His 116 career receptions are the most of any fullback in program history.

Washington: OLB Victor Aiyewa
He's a two-time first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection (2nd team this year) and made All-Pac-10 honorable mention. A former safety who moved to "Sam" outside linebacker this season, he ended up leading the Pac-10 in tackles for a loss with 18, 11th-most in school history.

Washington State: OT Micah Hannam
The four-year starter and three-time Pac-10 All-Academic first team member started more losses than any player in the 107-year history of Cougars football. That's perseverance.

Stanford's Phillips loses father in crash

August, 11, 2010
8/11/10
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Bill Phillips Sr., father of three FBS football players, including Stanford guard Andrew Phillips, was one of five people who died in an Alaskan plane crash that also claimed the life of former former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

Phillips also was the father of Indiana freshman tight end Paul Phillips and Virginia sophomore tight end Colter Phillips

Here's a statement from Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh:
    "We are struck with deep sadness by the tragic and sudden loss of Bill Phillips. The hearts and prayers of our entire team and staff extend to the Phillips family and the families of those lost in the crash. A man could hardly live a more full life than Bill, whose kindness and friendship touched us all deeply. His legacy lives on through his four sons, four incredible young men he raised."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Andrew's 13-year-old brother, William "Willy" Phillips, survived the crash, as did former NASA chief Sean O'Keefe and his teenage son, Kevin. Three others died in the crash. The elder Phillips had worked for Stevens in Washington."

You can read more on the crash here. And here.

Our thoughts go out Phillips and everyone else touched by this tragedy.

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