Tailback contributes on and off the football field

When asked what his greatest fears were, star running back Philip Sylvester didn’t regale horrors of 250-pound defensive linemen barreling towards him at full speed, or injuries like the one that kept Sylvester out of the game at the beginning of the season.

Instead, he stated that his greatest fear was failure or not succeeding at those goals in which he set for himself. However, at the rate he’s going now, Sylvester need not worry.

“He’s a young man that has over a 3.0 GPA. He is one of the leaders in our Fellowship of Christian Athletes…and then you certainly can’t overlook his speed as well. He really is the total package,” said Coach Joe Taylor about the multi-talented running back.

Coach Taylor’s praises hold true, as Sylvester continues to excel both on and off the field.

In addition to earning the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, Sylvester was recently awarded the Good Works Award, given by the American Football Coaches Association.

The AFCA criteria for this award states: “Nominees have to be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization…maintain good grades…display sincere concern and reliability, while also having made a favorable impression on the organizations with which they are involved. Athletic ability is not a criteria.”

Sylvester also participates in the football gospel choir.  This extra activity serves has one of his favorite hobbies.

“Everyone who knows me knows I love to sing.  I’m always singing,” said Sylvester about his involvement with the choir.

Sylvester also puts in time at a community service program that reads to young children in the local community.  This activity helped to qualify him as a nominee for the Good Works Award.

Taylor heralded Sylvester as “one of the captains on our leadership committee,” an honor bestowed upon him by his fellow teammates.

“We’re like brothers. You live with them, wake up with them, go to class with them, practice with them.  When you spend so much time with these boys, you can’t help but have a bond with them,” Sylvester said.

Senior offensive lineman Anthony Collins describes Sylvester as his “little brother.”

“[Sylvester] is not very vocal, but he leads by action. When he does speak, that means we’re really messing up and need to tighten up,” Collins said.

“He’s a fun guy to be around, he’s always keeping everybody laughing. But at the same time, he’s very serious on the field,” said senior quarterback Curtis Pulley.

And serious on the field he is. When asked how he was able to make such a big comeback in the Howard University game, Sylvester insisted that it was, “prayer, practice, and training…along with rehab” that helped him recover in time for the game.

There are questions surrounding if, following his early season injury, Sylvester will break 1,000 yards in the season.

“It’s not about records, it’s about teamwork. At the end of the day we just want to win…we’re not selfish,” Sylvester said.

Despite every one of his accomplishments, Sylvester emphasizes that at the end of the day he just wants to be successful.