Signal Mountain's Reese Phillips transfers to Montana - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Signal Mountain's Reese Phillips transfers to Montana

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UPDATE: Signal Mountain grad and former Kentucky quarterback Reese Phillips transfers to the University of Montana.

Phillips who announced he was leaving Kentucky in late December took his official visit to Montana this week. He returned with his mind all but made up and signed the official paperwork on Saturday.

Phillips said everything at Montana makes perfect sense. He fell in love with the campus and proudly informed Ch.3 that, "a recent vote says Montana's stadium on game day ranked as the 11th best atmosphere in college football."

On top of the atmosphere Montana gives Phillips a chance to play, a chance to win and a chance to coach in the future.

Phillips said, "Coach (Bob) Stitt was already looking for someone to come in and compete for the job."

Montana returns senior quarterback Brady Gustafson who missed 7 games in 2015 injured. Montana opened 2015 with a win over North Dakota State, but ended with a playoff loss to North Dakota St. Gustafson played in both of those games.

Phillips will compete for the starting job in 2016 and has at least one year after that to play, with possibly a third year of his redshirt status is approved.

Phillips said, "I had a lot of offers where I wouldn't have had to compete for the job, but Montana offered the best chance to win."

He says they graduated a few talented players on offense but he's excited about the incoming veteran JUCO transfers.

Phillips said former UK offensive coordinator, Shannon Dawson gave him the idea of coaching after he finishes playing and Montana offers that. 

Phillips said, "from the top to the bottom of Montana's coaching staff, they all have a previous playing or some connection with the university, it's a sign," that bodes well for his coaching future. 

Phillips will continue to train in Chattanooga with Gerald Riggs Jr. until he leaves for Missoula in late January.

PREVIOUS STORY: Kentucky quarterback and Signal Mtn. grad Reese Phillips announced on Thursday he was leaving the University of Kentucky. He tells Eyewitness Sports Director, Paul Shahen his list of six possible transfer destinations is topped by Montana.

After Montana he says there's no particular order between McNeese State, Sam Houston State, Coastal Carolina, James Madison and Eastern Washington.

The move to FCS allows Phillips to play in 2016.

Phillips has two years of eligibility left, with a third year in the works via a possible red shirt status.

Phillips tells Ch. 3 that he thought about transferring in the spring before he injured his Achilles heel. He chose to stay at UK which he calls a great decision, saying he learned a lot about the game and the position under then offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.

Dawson's firing in mid December proved to be the reason Phillips chose to transfer. Phillips said he had an amazing relationship with Dawson and didn't want to stay at Kentucky without him.

In 2014 Phillips completed two passes for 45-yards as a redshirt freshman. In 2015 he served as Patrick Towles backup, Towles recently announced he was transferring to Boston College for his final season.

He plans to have a final decision made over the next few days.

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