Signee Update: Jerrell Rhodes

Since placing third in the triple jump and eighth in the long jump last year at the NCHSAA 4A State Championship Track and Field Meet, expectations were high for Jerrell Rhodes this spring.

However, after a solid track and field season, a minor injury kept Rhodes out of the regional track meet, thus preventing him from qualifying for the state championship meet.

During the current track and field season, Rhodes improved his triple jump to 45'11.5" and his long jump to 22'11.75". In the state championship meet a year ago, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound tailback recorded a 45-10.50 triple jump and a 21'7.25 long jump.

Rhodes also participated in the high jump (6-foot-2 was his personal best) and shut put (45.0.75) for Durham (N.C.) Jordan High.

Rhodes' track season hasn't inhibited his preparation for his UNC career. He's been following the workout regimen assembled by Jeff Connors, UNC's strength and conditioning coach. Rhodes does a lot of the workout during his weightlifting class, which is taught by Mike Briggs, his head football coach.

"Even though everyone else has a routine that we're doing in class, I allow him to bring his workout book in there," Briggs said. "I'm allowing him the leverage to do a lot of the things in class that UNC is asking him to do, as far as weight training."

Briggs says Rhodes is a shade under 200 pounds.

"He's a pretty well built kid, but I think he could probably put on a little bit more," Briggs said. "I would think a tad over 200 [pounds] would be a good weight for him to play and be able to absorb the contact he needs to absorb."

"He's a north-south kind of guy – that's what he does best. He's not going to stand there and try to juke and make everybody miss. He's going to make his one cut and he's going to get north-south right now.

"He has very good vision. When he makes that one cut, he has the feel and peripheral vision for things that you just can't teach... He seems to find the open field."

Rhodes rushed for more than 4,000 career yards as he established Jordan High's all-time rushing mark.

UNC's running backs coach Kenny Browning, who keeps in regular contact with both Rhodes and Briggs, has told Briggs that the expectations are for Rhodes to compete right away.

"They want him to start competing and see what he can do as soon as he can," Briggs said. "[The UNC coaches have] left no doubt about it that they were pretty impressed with his athletic ability."

One of Rhodes' biggest obstacles to seeing the field for UNC this fall is his qualifying status. He is not yet academically qualified - and has opted not to do interviews during the final stretch of his senior year.

"Things are getting there," Briggs said. "He's got a little bit of work to do, but things are getting there."

Jerrell Rhodes Profile

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