Roy Exum: Keep An Eye On Phillips

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Kyle Phillips, a promising 6-foot-4, 255-pound junior at Nashville’s Hillsboro High School, has already gotten dozens of scholarship offers and is being so heavily recruited nobody know the last time he was home for the weekend. But if Phillips, who plays defensive end, does not go to Tennessee his proud grandfather is claiming he may have to sell his house on Lookout Mountain.

Reuben Lawrence, a giant of a man who helped mold Howard High School into what it is today and was a much-beloved ambassador for Beasley Distributing Company before he retired, is so proud of Kyle he’s about to pop and said he can hardly believe the amount of attention the standout athlete is drawing. Then again, Reuben is hardly a newcomer to watching a super star emerge.

His daughter, Teresa, was an all-state basketball star at GPS before earning all-SEC honors at Vanderbilt. Highly successful as a college coach and already honored by a number of Halls of Fame, she is now the athletic director at Tennessee State but she realizes her son is destined to play on a bigger stage. And as of last week, Kyle had offers from 11 SEC schools, as well as offers from defending national champion Florida State, Clemson, Penn State, Stanford, and Ohio State, just to name a few.

“I’m sure his mother could put in a word for him if he wanted to play for TSU,” Reuben said the other day, “but I imagine he could pick just about anywhere he wants to go. Personally I’d like to see him follow in the footsteps of Reggie White in Knoxville but Teresa has been really straight with him. She wants him to make up his mind and they don’t need any coaching from me,” he grinned.

Kyle has great size and speed but what makes recruiters squirm is the fact Teresa has stressed “a good name is better than great riches” in both Kyle and his brother Micah. Majoring in economics at Vanderbilt, she has “coached” her blue-chip son to a lofty 3.8 grade-point average.

Craig Clayton, his coach at Hillsboro, said it well in a recent story that appeared in the Nashville Tennessean: “He’s got a solid family. His mom’s a great lady. He’s a great kid. (College recruiters) love those intangibles. They are looking for kids with character and that makes Kyle very viable.”

Asked where he is considering, Kyle won’t say, other than he has a list of his Top Ten. “These are the schools I’m trying to focus on (note the alphabetical order): Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Stanford and Tennessee. Clemson may be in there over Florida right now. Hopefully I can get (the recruiting process) over by the start of the season or midway through it.”

Shoulder surgery kept him off the field for the majority of his junior year but his size, speed and strength caused coaches to come by regularly. Recently he attended Alabama’s spring game and has gotten to know Nick Saban quite well. “Teresa and Kyle were both impressed by the traditions at Alabama, and got a kick out of watching this year’s captains cast their hands in concrete like Alabama has done for years.”

“Tennessee has worked awfully hard – and very well – recruiting Kyle but all of the schools have stayed on him. He’s having a wonderful experience,” said his grandfather.  “Where ever he winds up is where I’ll be on Saturday … as long as it’s not out-of-state,” Reuben laughed again. “No, he knows we’re with him anywhere he decides to go.”

* * *

The libertarian think tank Cato Institute has released a scathing report that shows welfare pays more than minimum wage workers earn in 35 states and 13 of those states pay a rate that would be over $15 an hour. Right now the federal minimum wage is $7.25, which the Obama administration is trying to raise to $9.00. “No one who works full time should be living in poverty,” said the President.

The report states that nine states pay more to welfare recipients than a first-year school teachers earn and the six richest states pay more than the starting wage for a computer programmer.

* * *

The education group America’s Promise Alliance just reported that 87 percent of high school seniors in Tennessee graduated in 2012 and believes that figure will rise to 90 percent by 2020.

* * *

A very potent painkiller, Zohydro ER, has been approved but the Attorney Generals in 29 states are asking the Food and Drug Administration to rethink allowing the powerful drug. There were over 38,000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses in 2010 and 420,000 other Americans were treated in emergency rooms

State and local police are calling prescription drugs their biggest safety problem and Zohydro – pure hydrocodone – is five times stronger than comparable doses of commonly used drugs like Vicodin and Lortab.

While Zohydro’s manufacturer states it is solely for patients with chronic pain, drug enforcement officials are scared abusers will snort it or inject it, both potentially lethal.

* * *

Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, couldn’t resist himself after Yankee pitcher Michael Pineda got a 10-day suspension from Major League Baseball for using pine tar to doctor his pitches. “I’m in favor of legalizing pine tar but its usage may have to start with the Rockies and Mariners.” (In Denver and Seattle marijuana use is legal.)

royexum@aol.com



Chattanooga Needs The Coolidge Medal Of Honor Heritage Center

I'm pleased and indeed compelled to let you know a bit more about the exciting and most honorable "Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center" planned for Coolidge Park.     Here's what the Heritage Center will be:  It will be a fitting capstone for Chattanooga's Coolidge Park on Northshore in downtown Chattanooga.  While this exceptional Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)

Preserving 90-Year-Old Grammar School Just One Of Challenges Facing Town, Signal Council Told

Rather than spend millions upgrading Signal Mountain’s historic grammar school so it can continue to house the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC), it would make more sense to incorporate that project into a larger multi-pronged one that would solve several issues facing the community, according to town manager Boyd Veal.   For example, Mr. Veal said, the current ... (click for more)

Firefighters Put Out Fire In Compost Pile At City's Wood Recycling Center

Chattanooga firefighters were called to a fire at the city's wood recycling center on N. Hawthorne Street around noon on Sunday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman said the smoke and flames could be seen from several miles away.   Firefighters with five fire companies worked to get the blaze under control, using master streams from two aerials and some hand-held hoselines. The ... (click for more)

Chris Douglas Repeats As Waterfront Triathlon Champ

Sunday was a hot, hot day, but that didn’t keep nearly a thousand local and regional triathletes from around the Southeast from putting their best foot forward in the annual Waterfront Triathlon in downtown Chattanooga. Chris Douglas and Sara Gibson were the overall winners in the International distance race, which started with a 1.5K (.93 mile) swim, followed by a 42K (26 ... (click for more)

Prep Football Jamboree is Aug 12-13 at Finley Stadium

Highlighted by a match-up of state semifinalists in Baylor and Notre Dame, the 57th annual Prep Football Jamboree is set for Aug. 12-13 at Finley Stadium with five games each night. Baylor (10-3) reached the D-II AA semis before losing to eventual state champ Brentwood Academy, while Notre Dame (10-4) reached the D-I 3A semis before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. ... (click for more)