Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/13/12
MADISON, Wis. When Wisconsin's football program holds its annual senior day festivities during Saturday's final home game, nine players will be honored for their contributions to the team. Though the class is small, each man carries his own notable story of perseverance.Running back Montee Ball endured a tumultuous offseason but now stands one touchdown shy of tying the NCAA career record. Offensive lineman Robert Burge nearly quit the team in January. Left tackle Ricky Wagner went from converted tight end to Outland Trophy candidate. Others dealt with injuries that required weeks or months of rehabilitation. And then there is the story of quarterback Curt Phillips, whose persistence despite undergoing three ACL surgeries on his right knee would be admirable even if he never played a down of football again. On Saturday, he'll cap his Camp Randall Stadium career with his second straight start and his first career start at home against undefeated Ohio State.It's certainly been an awfully long journey for Phillips, a fifth-year senior who arrived at Wisconsin in 2008 from Tennessee as one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country. Despite all the accolades, injuries prevented him from fully recognizing his tremendous talent for nearly five seasons. Now, wearing a bulky black knee brace, he holds the keys to the car as Wisconsin's starter for the final three games of the season."It seems like it definitely has been a long time, but it's flown by at the same time," Phillips said. "I've really enjoyed all of it. I definitely don't regret any of the decisions I've made along the way. I'd do it all over again."Phillips earned the starting quarterback job over Danny O'Brien during practice two weeks ago. Starter Joel Stave broke his left collarbone Oct. 27 against Michigan State, which created the opening. Phillips, who missed both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, had not completed a pass since 2009.During his first start against Indiana last Saturday, he completed 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions in a 62-14 victory. Wisconsin also broke the single-game program record for rushing yards with 564.Phillips was asked if he'd like to throw the ball more than seven times against Ohio State."Obviously playing quarterback I love throwing it," Phillips said. "But I really could care less. Whatever the situation calls for. I have a lot of fun watching those linemen and the backs go for 500 yards. It's a lot of fun for me too. It doesn't really matter."Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said that while Phillips rarely threw the ball against Indiana, he played smart football and used his mobility to scramble for first downs when opportunities existed. Phillips gained 68 yards rushing on seven carries."People that read the stats and make bad conclusions don't understand he played a really good game running and throwing," Bielema said. "My guess is Saturday is going to be even better."During Phillips' darkest hours, teammates continued to rally around him, drawn to his perseverance and leadership qualities. The fact that he is actually playing makes Saturday's game even more special."The way that he works and the way that he leads the team is just tremendous," Wisconsin center Travis Frederick said. "Everybody has always had a tremendous amount of respect for him and the way that he plays and the way that he acts as a person. For him to get a chance to get in there and play and succeed is a really good feeling for us."Phillips never has been one drawn to the limelight, but even he admitted playing was more fun knowing his teammates were pulling for him to succeed. And there could be more good news on the horizon.Because Phillips missed two full seasons with his knee injuries, he is planning to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. Although Bielema called it a textbook case, Phillips understands nothing is certain with the NCAA. "I know my parents and myself have made phone calls to the NCAA," Phillips said. "They can't tell you a yes or no answer, but it does seem pretty clear cut."If the NCAA sides with Phillips, he is hoping his story isn't finished just yet. He may even be back to celebrate a second senior day at Wisconsin."It definitely wasn't my plan initially to be here that long," Phillips said. "I've enjoyed it. If I get a chance to stay around, I'd love to."Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jimmy Butler reveals number at presser, asks critics to call him

Report: Thunder intend to make a run at Blake Griffin

Report: Door not closed on Isiah Thomas returning to Knicks

Video shows moment Fisher informed Rams staff of his firing

Doc Rivers shoots down report of rift with Chris Paul

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jimmy Butler recruiting Kyle Lowry to the Timberwolves

WATCH: Tim Tebow didn't waste any time homering after promotion

Nolan Arenado throws out runner from seated position

Report: Chris Paul ‘despises’ Doc Rivers, had issues with treatment of son Austin

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

The 'R.I.P. Lob City' quiz

Zach Orr’s reported comeback is more than a labor loophole

Box Score 6/29: Cash is doing well this NBA offseason

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'R.I.P. Lob City' quiz

Zach Orr’s reported comeback is more than a labor loophole

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker