Practice Tour: Jerrell Rhodes

DURHAM, N.C. --- Jordan High School head football coach Mike Briggs and his coaching staff have the good problem of attempting to fully utilize Jerrell Rhodes' abilities this fall.

"We want to get the ball in his hands a number of different ways," Briggs said. "J.R. brings a lot to the table. He can run the ball; he can catch it out of the backfield; you can line him up as a receiver and he can catch it there; and he's even been known to throw the ball once or twice. He's a big part of what we do."

Jordan runs a true multiple offense. The base offense is the split back veer -- and has been for the last 15 years. However, through the years, especially within the past five years, numerous concepts have been added.

"Over time, as with any coaching staff, you find that you have athletes that can do varied things and in some regards using a specific offense constrains their athletic abilities," Jordan offensive coordinator Jason Luck said. "… We do a lot. And each year we can adjust to the athletes we have."

Within the offense Rhodes is asked to do just about everything imaginable – run, block, receive, and even pass. Normally, he'll line up at tailback in the split back, single back, and shotgun formations, but several times a game he will line up as a receiver or even take the snap from under center.

"Wherever I'm needed to play, I'll do it," Rhodes said. "… I just go out there and give them my all."

Jordan's varsity roster includes 28 seniors, with 20 that have been on varsity since their freshmen season.

"This team right here probably has more seniors than we've had in a while – especially four-year seniors," Briggs said. "When you have a lot of four-year seniors, you expect them to step up and lead the team through hard work, through expectations of the program."

One of those four-year varsity seniors is Rhodes, who is aiming to rush for 2,000 yards this fall.

"I'm very excited," Rhodes said. "It's my last year of ever playing high school, so I'm going to go hard.

"Not just me, but every senior wants to leave a legacy behind. We're trying to go to [the NCHSAA 4A State Championship]."

Although the obvious goal is a state title, Jordan's approach will be week-to-week.

"We've never been one to try and crawl before we walk," Briggs said. "Right now, we're thinking about North Davidson – we want to take that one. And then when that game is over, we'll look at game two, then the next one and the next one. I don't want to look past the week that we've got. I think if we take care of those small things, our record will be better than if we try to look better than any particular game. So right now, our focus is North Davidson."

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Rhodes still has yet to make that anticipated unofficial visit to UNC with his mother.

"J.R. works [a summer job] and he is still working," Luck said. "We're heading into a game this Friday night and he was working as of [Tuesday] essentially an 8-to-5 job. And then you add to that that we've had workouts or practice in the afternoons and evenings.

"His mom works. He lives in a situation home-wise that they have to really watch what they're doing every moment. Being able to deviate from a routine of work on a given day to go and do something, their jobs don't necessary afford that much."

Furthermore, circumstances beyond Rhodes' control have put recruiting on hold.

"There has been a lot of personal stuff going on at home," Rhodes said. "So I haven't really been thinking about [recruiting]. My mom is going through some stuff with my grandparents. I just want to get my family and everything straight, because we're going through tough times right now."

Luck has sat down with Rhodes' family and discussed the UNC situation.

"We've talked about them going over there and visiting," Luck said. "His mom was very positive about wanting to [visit] as her schedule and J.R.'s schedule would allow, because she was very excited about meeting the coaches and learning academically what was going on and reaffirming everything J.R. talked about."

Rhodes says he plans to visit UNC with his mother "as soon as possible."

With UNC firmly entrenched as his leader, Rhodes says there are "strong" odds that he will verbally commit when he and his mother visit UNC.

Rhodes said is looking forward to attending several Tar Heel home games this fall – especially the UNC-Duke game.

"It's just a rivalry," Rhodes said. "It reminds me of us and Hillside. A lot of emotion goes into the game."

Jerrell Rhodes Profile


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