FAMU’s running back is making huge stride

Sophomore running back Phillip Sylvester came into the season with a high amount of expectations resting on his shoulders.

Sylvester had an impressive freshman campaign running for 858 rushing yards and scoring seven touchdowns, one of which came on a 92-yard run.

He also averaged 5.7 yards per carry his freshman year, and amassed of 14 receptions. These numbers helped earn Sylvester a birth on the first-team honoree for the 2008 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Pre-season All-Star Team.

With talent comes anticipation. And thus far Sylvester has yet to disappoint.

This season Sylvester has rushed for a total of 500 yards, four touchdowns and accumulated 102 receiving yards.

Even with fairly impressive numbers, Sylvester is looking for ways to improve.

“I need to block better to help my team win a MEAC Championship,” said Sylvester a Marianna native.

Sylvester said winning a MEAC title is one of his goals. But a larger goal looms, to leave FAMU with a bachelor degree in civil engineering.

For Sylvester, 20, the grind of being a student athlete helps fuel his play on the field.

“I don’t feel pressure to go out and perform well on the field, but (I) feel the pressure to leave the field with a win,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester has been instrumental in the Rattlers 6-2 record, which is double the team’s win total from a year ago.

Sylvester defers much of his personal accolades, and focus on the team’s development.

“The team has done pretty good this year,” Sylvester said. “We’ve had some close wins, but we still must improve.”

Oddly enough Sylvester said he once had aspirations to make his name on the baseball diamond.

“I grew up watching baseball and dreamed of playing in college,” Sylvester said.

Although his first love is baseball, Sylvester said he is pleased with his decision to stick with football.

Gregory Boler Jr. said practicing with Sylvester helps the defense fine tune its skill.

“It’s good for the defense to scrimmage against Phillip, we never really have to worry about opposing backs because we face the best running back in the MEAC everyday at practice,” said Boler from Philadelphia, Penn.

Jarvis Funderburk, a wide receiver also said Sylvester is a good attribute to the team.

“Phillip Sylvester is a picture perfect teammate that gives one hundred percent with a smile,” said Funderburk from Palm Beach.

This years homecoming game will land on Sylvester’s birthday, and he says the perfect gift would be a win.