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August 20, 2012

Rivals100: Rhodes a perfect fit

Baylor coach Art Briles knows what he wants. And when he gets locked in, he usually finds a way to secure it.

That's the way it was with Fort Worth Southwest wide receiver Robbie Rhodes. While there are quality wide receivers in Texas, the 6-1 189-pound talent stood out and became the signature member of Baylor's 2013 class.

Rivals analysts never doubted Rhodes but wanted to be sure in their latest round of evaluation meetings. On Monday, Rhodes debuts in the Rivals100 at No. 67.

"It shows me what I've accomplished,'' Rhodes said. "I'm proud to be ranked that high.''

With a 6.0 rating, Rhodes is the highest rated recruit to come to Baylor in the Art Briles era and for that matter Rivals recruiting annals going back to 2002. San Antonio Sam Houston defensive end Javonte Magee was a 5.9, while Heisman Trophy Winner Robert Griffin III and current nickel back Ahmad Dixon earned 5.8 and 5.9 ratings respectively.

Magee finished ranked in the 2012 National 100 at No. 65, but there's obviously the chance for Rhodes to move up. He's currently the second-rated receiver in Texas behind Rosenberg Terry's Derrick Griffin, who has committed to Texas A&M.

"Robbie Rhodes was a prospect that really started to generate a lot of buzz right around the end of our previous rankings cycle and anytime that happens, we always go back and look at film again as well as try to obtain more footage,'' Rivals National Analyst Mike Farrell said. "With Rhodes size was initially a concern but that was alleviated when we saw how much he had grown since the start of his junior season.

"And when you watch his game films, he is a consistent downfield threat, he has great body control and he is sneaky strong. He is very good after the catch as well and is a dynamic playmaker who can score from anyplace on the field. He's just too good not to be in the Rivals100, but we want to see how he does his senior year before we move him up any further."

It became apparent early in the recruiting process that the Bears' coaching staff made Rhodes its No. 1 target. The staff built, sustained and secured the relationship in early June when Rhodes gave his commitment on June 10.

Texas made a charge. However, the Baylor coaching staff already set the pace. TCU may have fared better, but Rhodes made it clear he wanted to play away from home and yet stay close enough to it. Baylor fit that thinking perfectly.

Rhodes became a household name during the 2011 Texas high school football season when he delivered a dazzling and record-setting performance with 394 receiving yards and eight touchdowns against Fort Worth Arlington Heights. He averaged 28 yards per reception.

The speed is breathtaking. At the Class 4A state track and field meet this past May in Austin, he won the 200-meter dash and ran a leg on the winning 4x100 relay team. He also was on the 4x200 team that finished second.

Rhodes' commitment to Baylor appears secured. Soft spoken and with a humble upbringing, he said he doesn't have any goals but wants to put Fort Worth ISD football on the map. Southwest will have two major challenges this year against Everman in September and a district game against three-time Class 4A state champion Aledo in late October.

By then, Rhodes' could be climbing even higher in the Rivals' rankings.

Publisher Todd Wills contributed to this report.


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