Practice Tour: Jerrell Rhodes

CHATHAM, Va. --- During the first three years of his prep career, Jerrell Rhodes was a dominant running back, but his senior season was plagued by inconsistent play. Now at Hargrave Military Academy, head coach Robert Prunty hopes to revive Rhodes' consistency.

"The guy has a burst, but I need to see him be more consistent, though," Prunty said. "… I see a great play here, and then you know. I want to get him to be a consistent ‘back when he gets to Carolina."

Rhodes, a 5-foot-11, 205-pounder, rushed for more than 4,000 yards during his career at Durham (N.C.) Jordan High.

"He's very explosive, he's one of those guys that can run over you or he can run by you," Prunty said. "I need to see him lower those pads and level some people more often. I want to see some more toughness out of him."

Assisting Prunty in his mission to improve Rhodes is a very competitive backfield.

"It's not like last year when we lacked depth – we have plenty of depth [at running back]," Prunty said. "They're making [Rhodes] step up – [Alex] Owah, [Tahron] Goods, Billy [Nyantakyi] – we have guys making him step up. He's going to have to step up, if he doesn't he won't be the starter – I run a fast ship."

When Rhodes is on the field, Prunty envisions plenty of ways to utilize him.

"Man, we're going to toss it, we're going to iso' with him, we're going to run a zone read with him," the coach said.

Rhodes signed with UNC in February and was academically qualified. However, he was asked to spend a semester at Hargrave to create separation in UNC's running back depth chart.

"I think [coming here] is going to make me a stronger football player," Rhodes said. "We play and practice against stronger competition."

Rhodes says the experience is made easier since he's going through it with fellow future Tar Heels Johnnie Farms and D.J. Bunn. The trio have discussed road trips to Chapel Hill for games, with the Thursday night Florida State game circled on their calendar.

Just before leaving for Hargrave, Rhodes spoke to Kenny Browning, UNC's running back coach.

"He talked about coming down here and doing what I need to do so that I can enroll [at UNC] in January," Rhodes said.

Rhodes' course load at Hargrave includes an English, a psychology, and a math class.

Jerrell Rhodes Profile


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