Former UA Star Linebacker Dies At 56

FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas standout linebacker Danny Rhodes died late Sunday night when the motorcycle he was driving was struck by a car in southeast Texas. He was 56.

Rhodes is considered among the top linebackers to play for the Razorbacks, and he impressed coaches in the early 1970s with his size and ability to run from sideline to sideline to make a tackle.

Rhodes was named to Arkansas' All-Decade Team for the 1970s following a stellar collegiate career that included him twice earning All-Southwest Conference first-team honors (1971 and ‘73).

"He's in the upper echelon, no question, of linebackers that have played here," said Harold Horton, who served as Rhodes' linebacker coach at Arkansas. Horton is now a vice president for the Razorback Foundation. "He had instincts with football, something that you don't teach."

Rhodes was driving a 2006 Honda motorcycle southbound on Highway 35 in Matagorda County, Texas on Sunday night when he was hit by a car traveling east on another road, said Jon Adkison, a police communications operator for the Texas Highway Patrol.

Adkison said the other driver in a 1998 Buick Century failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign, entered the intersection and struck Rhodes. The former Arkansas linebacker was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:48 p.m. Sunday.

Adkison said the initial police report didn't indicate whether the other driver was cited or charged with any crimes relating to the accident.

Horton said he remembered Rhodes as a very likable and coachable player whom Arkansas' coaches pulled out all the stops to sign out of high school.

"It was between us and Texas A&M, and we got him and felt good about getting him because he was highly recruited as a good football player," Horton said. "When he came here, he lived up to his billing. He was every bit as good as he was advertised coming out of high school."

Rhodes was a three-year lettermen at Arkansas (1971-73), serving as a team captain during his final season. He received the Crip Hall Award as the top senior performer in the Razorbacks' 1973 homecoming game — a 14-10 win over Texas A&M.

Rhodes represented Arkansas in the 1973 Blue-Gray Game before spending one season in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts, who selected Rhodes in the sixth round of the 1974 NFL Draft.

"He wanted to please the coaches; he was coachable. He was attentive to what you had to say," Horton said. "He worked real hard to do it the right way, whether it was on the football field or off the football field."

Horton said funeral arrangements have not been finalized yet, but he indicated that the Razorback Foundation will do something to recognize the former linebacker.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories