Every January, 500 of the nation's top junior football prospects descend upon San Antonio for the U.S. Army National Combine.
This year, Stilwell (KS) Blue Valley offensive tackle Clay Rhodes was one of those prospects, which should come as no surprise. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound offensive tackle is already attracting a great deal of interest from Division One programs, and figures to be one of the most heavily-recruited prospects in the Kansas City region from the Class of 2013.
Rhodes enjoyed the experience in San Antonio, where he got to meet - and compete against - many other high-caliber athletes.
"Once I got out there and actually started competing, I felt like I belonged with them and that I could compete with the best," he said.
Though he is being looked at by programs as both a tackle and a tight end due to his exceptional athleticism for his size, during the event he competed exclusively as an offensive tackle.
The Junior Day invites are rolling in, and he has decided to attend the recruiting events at Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Tulsa - with a possible trip to Northwestern also on the horizon.
During the off-season, Rhodes has focused on attacking the weight room with his teammates, and on packing on solid weight, seeking out the counsel of a nutritionist as well.
"I feel like I'm eating right, eating what I need to eat," he said. "I'm putting on a lot of muscle and all my power lifts have gone up a lot. I feel like I'm doing great right now, and I'm really happy with my progress so far."