Central Michigan has a knack for producing offensive lineman. Even before Eric Fisher went No. 1 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, CMU has consistently had some of the best offensive lineman in the MAC for sometime now. In fact, we've already had one current CMU offensive lineman appear in our Top MAC Football Players of 2014 countdown, center Nick Beamish at no. 43. Now the Chippewas are adding another lineman to the list of the MAc's best players this year with offensive guard Andy Phillips, who comes in at No. 27 on our list.
Phillips enters 2014 having started in 30 consecutive games on the Chippewas' offensive line, mostly at left guard. The 6-foot-3, 306-pound iron man is the elder statesman of this year's offensive line. In 2013 he took home the team's Offensive Upfront Player of the Year Award, and earned Second Team All-MAC honors. He's already been honored as a preseason First Team All-MAC guard by Athlon Sports, a Phil Steele preseason Second Team All-MAC guard, and he's been included on the 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List.
An impressive set of accolades for a former high school defensive end who totaled an astonishing 510 tackles and 15 sacks in four seasons as a 259-pound high school starting defensive end. The former 2-star recruit redshirted in 2010 before packing on some weight and converting to the offensive side. His transformation has been nothing short of remarkable, not unlike a former teammate and current Kansas City Chief who transformed forma sometimes punter into a 300+ pound brick wall of an offensive line.
In his career, CMU's line has allowed just 47 total sacks, consistently ranking in the Top 20 nationally. The offensive line, with Phillips playing a main role alongside the likes of Fisher, has consistently paved the way for new quarterbacks and running backs to put up big numbers in Phillips' tenure.
He has a legitimate shot of being drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. But before then this returning team captain will be once again tasked with leading an offensive line that should be among the MAC's best. With Phillips on the line, CMU's backfield can rest easy knowing things are being taken care of for them in the trenches.