Whenever Will Muschamp lands a commitment, the South Carolina coach drops a #SpursUp on Twitter. Come to SEC Country for the latest news, notes and observations on the prospects who could be the newest Gamecocks.
FAIRBURN, Ga. — Webster Bumpers wishes he had more time to work with Jordan Rhodes.
Though the Creekside High School offensive line coach is happy to see his prized offensive lineman have a shot to play in the SEC, there’s a part of him that still wants to have a hand in developing the 6-foot-6, 300-pound senior.
Rhodes didn’t start playing football at Creekside High School until his junior year, when his snaps were limited to only a few games and only in mop-up duty.
This past season, Bumpers’ first as the Creekside offensive line coach, Rhodes started at left tackle. Now, two months before signing day, he’s a 3-star prospect and rated by 247Sports as the No. 118 offensive tackle in the Class of 2017.
“His potential is tremendous,” Bumpers said. “He’s very green, at times. Right now, he’s not even playing the position right, like I would like him to. … Once he gets to the college of his choice, those guys are going to get him to where he needs to be. I have no doubt. He has a very, very bright future, not just because of his size.
“He loves to play the game. He’s a no-nonsense type of a guy. He gets down to work when you ask him to.”
The feeling is mutual. Rhodes, who has offers from South Carolina, Mississippi State, Missouri and Cincinnati, credits Bumpers for having a hand in getting him to this point.
“He really helped me a lot. He made sure we had a film study every day during practice,” Rhodes said. “He’s giving us quizzes, tests on getting the plays, understanding the plays. I loved each and every day I had with these guys. Words can’t express the love that I have for Creekside football.”
Now, as the Detroit native winds down his final year at Creekside, it’s time to figure out where his next stop will be.
Rhodes, who helped block for three 1,000-yard rushers, took unofficial visits to South Carolina and Mississippi State in the fall. He visited Starkville for the Arkansas game in November. The Gamecocks hosted him for their upset win over Tennessee.
Both schools will host Rhodes for official visits in January, starting with a return to Columbia on Jan. 13. The following weekend, he’ll return to Mississippi State. A week later, he’ll head out to Columbia, Mo., to visit the Tigers. A last-minute trip to Cincinnati will be squeezed in before signing day.
“I’ll look out for which school has the best program,” Rhodes said. “I’d say each school has (a good) program.
“With me doing research, Mississippi State winning back-to-back bowl games, that was really impressive to me.
“South Carolina, them winning the bowl games and coach Will Muschamp, preparing his guys, offense and defense to come out on Saturday night, to just win and celebrate. Going in the locker room and everyone is just happy, I really miss that.”
Rhodes plans to major in criminology, to begin his path toward a career in law enforcement.
Former South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott stopped by Creekside on Tuesday. On Wednesday, before his interview with SEC Country, Rhodes met with Mississippi State offensive line coach John Hevesy.
“He’s very aggressive. He finishes all of his blocks. He maintains his blocks very well,” Bumpers said. “Great attitude. Very coachable. I haven’t had any problems out of him. Very team-oriented type of player. He’s all about team success, so I feel like his attitude, along with his demeanor and physical attributes, are going to go well, wherever he decides to go.”
That was quite apparent when Rhodes was asked about his decision to play football.
“The goal for me was to get better as a player, to build with my teammates. I didn’t really care too much about offers or stars that I had,” he said. “Right now, it really doesn’t mean anything right now, but I do know, with the love and respect of my team, my schools, my fans, I appreciate everything that they’ve done for me, (and) my parents, just waking me up every day to achieve something else, bigger and better things.”
And that’s why Bumpers hates that his time as Rhodes’ coach was so short-lived.
Wednesday: Updates on Devonte Wyatt and Tavyn Jackson