Strozier Looks to End on a High Note

Oct. 14, 2010

Every year is an important year when you are playing college football. However, it is a little more special and important when it is your last year. You want to make it count and you want to contribute as much as you can to the program. Redshirt senior Phillip Strozier is currently in his last season at Kansas and he hopes to leave the program on a high note, particularly because the last time he was a senior, things did not end the way he would have liked.

Strozier, who played his high school ball at Kansas City’s traditional powerhouse Rockhurst High School, was a very talented and highly sought after recruit. Despite the team having a dominant regular season his senior year, Rockhurst fell short in the Missouri state semi-finals, losing to DeSmet, 59-39.

Coincidentally enough, one of Strozier’s teammates on that Rockhurst team was Sal Capra, who now starts on the offensive line for Kansas. Both ended their senior year of high school with a bad taste in their mouths and both hope their senior year of college can be a little different.

Like Capra, Strozier did not get a lot of playing time immediately in college and took some time to find his niche on the team. Through hard work and persistence, Strozier ultimately became a starter and has since embraced such a leadership role.

“As a starter, I need to be more of a leader on and off the field,” he said. “I am trying to continue to bring it hard every day in practice and I am trying to lead by example more than anything.”

After winning only one game in Big 12 play last season, one job in particular that Strozier has tried to accomplish as a leader is preparing the team for conference play.

“We feel great (about going into conference play), we’re in a good position. We’re taking it week by week and now that it’s Big 12 play; the games really count. All of the games count, but conference play is really important and we have a lot of confidence in our abilities.”

The 55-7 loss to Baylor to open conference play was certainly not what the team had in mind, but there is a great opportunity to bounce back and make a statement on a national stage against a big time rival when Kansas State comes to town for a Thursday night showdown on October 14.

As big as the Kansas State game is, it might mean a little bit more to Strozier considering he has some serious family ties involved. Phillip’s brother, Noah, played football for the Wildcats. In addition, his uncle Art also played football for Kansas State and eventually went on to play for the San Diego Chargers. Despite the strong connections to Kansas State football, Phillip says that his family was very supportive of his decision to play for Kansas.

“I wouldn’t say they tried to persuade me (to attend Kansas State) or anything like that,” he said. “Obviously they love K-State, but this was my decision and they supported me either way. They knew it was my choice. There’s always a little extra feeling when you’re playing K-State. It’s a great rivalry and it’s a Thursday night game, so we’ll be on a short week. We’ll be ready for them.”

Can Strozier end his last year at Kansas the way he wants? A win over the Wildcats on October 14 would be a huge step in the right direction. It would also give him bragging rights over his brother and his uncle for next year.

Matt Trofholz is a sophomore from Chicago, Ill. He is majoring in journalism.