Colleges have been making it a point to stay in regular contact with Southside head football coach Greg Porter. The Tigers have a handful of D1 prospects in the 2009 class. One of their most dynamic players is wide receiver Chris Rhodes.
No Chris Rhodes isn't a 6'4 205 pound specimen who runs a blistering 4.4 second 40 yard dash. What Rhodes brings to the table is the ability to make plays consistently and has superb quickness. Checking in at 5'9 160 pounds most people normally don't give Rhodes a second glance. Despite missing a couple of games last season he snagged 36 catches for 613 yards and 9 touchdowns. What he brings to the table after he makes the catch is what makes him so special.
We checked out his Southside team recently in 7 on 7 action versus Greenville High. Greenville as many of you know is a perennial AAA power over the last decade while the Tigers have recently struggled in AA play. The Tigers performed at a high level and it was obvious that they have key components to compete with anyone they may step on the field with next season. Rhodes when given the chance was able to showcase his fluidity and ability to make the toughest catches look relatively easy.
As we mentioned before Rhodes is dynamic in his ability to find the open area and make people miss once he makes the catch. In talking with several area coaches who faced Rhodes last season I got the following comments when I asked them about Rhodes (coaches chose to speak based on anonymity):
"He can flat out play. You can't teach what he's able to do. If we had him I'd like our chances to win the region easily and a shot at winning state too. He's a hell of a receiver. He makes all the tough catches look pretty doggone easy and gets plenty of YAC yards." -Opposing AAA assistant coach
"To look at him we didn't think he was that big of a threat. He made us look bad no bones about it! He's got that burst of quickness that you just don't see from many guys. If he's got the grades he's at least a mid-major player in my book. At least that but if some of the other big schools take a long look they'll see he's capable of contributing." -Opposing AA head coach
"Man that guy is a hell of a player. I love him. If we had him and the other kid I would have a smile on my face for months and months. He's a 1,200 yard receiver easy if he gets enough thrown his way. -Opposing AA head coach
Well there are some schools who are actively recruiting Rhodes and he told us the very latest. "Right now I'm hearing the most from Charleston Southern, North Carolina State, Alabama, and Harvard. Charleston Southern is probably coming after me the hardest out of everybody though."
With a new coach and many new coaches on staff for the Tigers this year including former Greer High star QB Mazzie Drummond guiding the new Tigers' offense Rhodes is excited about next season. "Yeah I LOVE it and I'm really excited about it! Coach Porter and Coach Drummond and the rest of our coaches are great. They are really pushing me to get better. Coach Porter wants me and the weight room all the time, he always tell me "you got to get ready to go both ways boy." Coach Drummond pushes me hard on the field too like running routes and going hard all the time!"
So for Rhodes he will be playing some defensive back for the Tigers and there's a new work ethic taking shape for Southside's program. Along with more players coming out for the football team there are big numbers showing up for involuntary weight lifting. Those kinds of signs point to the change that Greg Porter envisions for the program. Talking about next season Rhodes said this, "I want to be one of the best wide receivers and defensive backs in the state. I also want to make a run for the state title!"
"I'd like to make 50+ catches for 1000+ yards and 15 touchdowns." With a wide open offense those goals seem very possible as the coaching staff realizes his value in helping to lead his teammates as a rising senior.
Asked if there are any games next season that he is really looking forward to he quickly replied, "I'm looking forward on all the games! I'm ready to show everybody that we are not the "Old Southside!""
"I'm trying to take it to the next level by improving my footwork, catching, route running, speed, and especially becoming a better leader!" There are a few more stops for Rhodes this summer as well. "I am going to Charleston Southern soon for a visit. I think they are close to offering me. On my way back I'm going to call you and let you know it went. I also want to visit South Carolina and Clemson this summer too."
With a vast array of schools in the picture Rhodes says a few things will be taken into consideration when he sits down to make a decision on a school. "I want to be away from home but not too far, so location, playing time, conference strength, education, and coaching staff will be the things that I look at before I decide."
A different persona and direction is obvious with the Southside Tigers this year under Greg Porter and his staff. Rhodes had this to say about his team, "I think this year is going to be a pretty good year! We have a great coaching staff and they are pushing us very hard. Our O-line and our D-line are working hard everyday. Our defense is getting better and our offense is getting better everyday we touch the field!"
SCPrepNation.com will have more updates on Chris Rhodes as his recruitment continues so stay tuned!