Texas fans received great news on Saturday when speedy wide receiver Robbie Rhodes received an official scholarship offer from Longhorn coach Mack Brown. And those that attended the state track meet the day before were able to see a large part of the appeal in Rhodes's wheels. As the anchor leg of Fort Worth Southwest's 4x100 team, he started off a full five meters behind Lancaster speedster La'Darius Newbold, but caught and passed Newbold by the closest of margins: 40.892 to 40.899 — that's right, by seven one-thousandths of a second — for the win.
Rhodes then went out and proved his speed in an individual race, ripping off an official 21.06 200-meter dash, at that point the fastest time in the event in the state of Texas, and the seventh fastest in the country. On Saturday, Rhodes's time was passed five times by other Texans in their state races, including a national-best 20.58 by Abraham Hall of South Grand Prairie, but the point was made: Rhodes has big, big-time speed.
But Rhodes is also more than that as a football player. Unlike the so-called "tracksters playing football," Rhodes uses hesitation to set up his speed, getting defenders leaning one way or hitting the breaks right before exploding by them. And Rhodes set a Texas state record with 394 receiving hards and eight touchdowns against Arlington Heights. But even if you removed that game, just wiped it from memory, Rhodes had 37 catches for 921 yards (24.9 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns last year in his OTHER contests.
The Longhorns had him as a top receiver target for several months, but were unable to get him to campus until the state meet. And it's a good thing too, because while the Longhorns had enough interest to offer Rhodes a scholarship, according to Rhodes and people around his recruitment, that interest is reciprocal.
A receiving class that includes Ricky Seals-Jones, Jake Oliver and Jacorey Warrick already has to rank as one of the top in the country. And if Texas could add a player of Rhodes' quality, and his level of game-breaking speed, you'd have to give the Longhorns a serious look at No. 1.