Scoring points and degrees
Law school student, football kicker
While kicker Jonathan Phillips and his fellow Gator football players have been achieving Southeastern Conference and national championships in recent years, Phillips also has been adding degrees and academic accolades to his resume.
Since starting as a freshman in 2005, Phillips has received his bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in real estate studies. As the Gators go for another SEC championship this year, the Wellington, Fla., native has been toiling in his first year of law school.
Phillips was recruited as one of the country’s top kicking prospects as part of head football coach Urban Meyer’s initial recruiting class. As a freshman, Phillips had the opportunity to kick in six games, followed by three outings in his sophomore year. Phillips was ready to make a name for himself in 2007 until a freak accident during preseason practice sidelined him for all but one game, a 30-24 win against Ole Miss.
After a season on the bench, Phillips began to feel that his time at Florida was over and he was ready to move on. He was accepted to law school at the University of Miami, but Meyer wanted Phillips to give college football one more shot. Phillips received a medical red-shirt from the NCAA for his sidelined 2007 season and started working on his master’s degree at UF.
The decision to stay also resulted in the chance to join his teammates as national champions. His 78 of 79 point-after attempts during the 2008 season established SEC records for the most made and the most attempted extra points in a season, and his total of 114 points ranked him among the top single-season point producers in the history of the league.
Coming into the current football season, Phillips considered pursuing a second master’s degree, even though he still wanted to go to law school. As if fate wouldn’t let his roller-coaster story end, Phillips was accepted to UF’s law school mere days before orientation. Since then, he has been juggling both full-time law-school and football responsibilities.
“It’s hard,” Phillips said, “but it has been a great experience to be around my teammates and be a part of the Gator football team for another year.”
At this point in his career as a Gator, Phillips has made 12 of 14 field-goal attempts and 97 of 101 extra points, making him responsible for a total of 133 points.
He was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times.