COLUMBIA, S.c. (WSAV) – Fresh off a big conference win, one in which he threw for three touchdowns, Benedict College quarterback Eric Phoenix was all smiles when he sat down for an interview with us.
“It’s real fun,” Phoenix grinned when asked about playing in the Tigers’ offense. “Get to throw the ball around the yard and everybody gets to eat.”
That grin got even bigger when he found out mid-interview that he was named SIAC Offensive Player of the Week.
“Man, I am so happy because I felt like I got snubbed the first and second week,” Phoenix explained. “To finally get it is a blessing. I thank God, thank my teammates, and thank my offensive line for helping me.”
Phoenix is no stranger to getting overlooked. Coming out of Windsor Forest, he wasn’t raking in major college offers. All he needed was one chance.
“The first time I seen him throw a football, I got super excited,” Benedict College head coach Chennis Berry chuckled.
Berry wasn’t the one that offered the Savannah native a scholarship — that was the previous head coach. Berry is, however, in charge of the Tigers now and is letting Phoenix ‘cook’.
“With Eric Phoenix at quarterback, we think we have the guy to help us lead and take this program to new heights.”
Phoenix has the keys to the offense and has taken full advantage of the opportunity. As of November 2nd, Phoenix led the entire conference in passing yards (1740) and is just one touchdown shy of a share of the lead in passing touchdowns (14).
“Being a college athlete from Savannah and seeing other people from Savannah making a name for themselves,” Phoenix said, when asked what drives him. “We are just running it — we are running college football right now.”
Earlier this season, Phoenix returned to his Savannah roots and led a miraculous comeback attempt against Savannah State that fell just short in the final seconds. Despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Phoenix showed out in front of his hometown crowd with over 300 yards passing and two rushing touchdowns.
“Just the grit, determination, and moxy that yoiu want with a starting quarterback,” Berry added. “‘E7’ is a very competitive young man. I love that about him. He doesn’t want to lose.”
Phoenix hates losing. Especially, when his parents are watching the stands. Both are Savannah State alums who traded in their blue and orange for purple and gold.
“He’s definetely a ‘mommas boy’, no question about that,” Berry said with a smile. “He’s got a great relationship with his mom and dad. They are very supportive at every one of his games with ‘E7’ shirts and gear. He’s got a praying momma, an awesome momma, she’s invested in our program and we are happy to have the Phoenix family.”
Family, faith, and football. That’s what drives Eric Phoenix and hopes the people coming behind him find their purpose, just like he did.
“Find your ‘why’. When you find your ‘why’, that’s going to help you push,” Phoenix explained. “Days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed? That’s going to get you out of bed. Keep working, never give up, and do good in school.”