No more football-less falls for Anthony Rhoades, a first team

Daily News

All-City defensive lineman for West Catholic High's 2006 Catholic Blue football champions.

One was way too many.

After redshirting this past season at Arizona Western (junior) College, in Yuma, Rhoades has made an oral commitment to Duquesne and will begin classes there next semester. The Dukes are just becoming a scholarship program at the I-AA level and will compete next fall in the Northeast Conference.

The 6-2, 235-pound Rhoades, who mostly lined up at end for West, is being projected as a middle linebacker.

"The starter is graduating and the coaches said the backups are OK, but not really ready to be the guy," Rhoades said. "They said the job is basically mine to lose. I'm going in there to challenge for it.

"I've seen a lot of West guys go to bigger schools and have to wait around for 2-3 years to get a shot. I want to play right away. Duquesne is going to give me that chance, plus I'll be a part of something new with an up-and-coming program."

Rhoades, who plans to major in graphic design or criminal justice, also received contact from Louisville and Pittsburgh, and thought hard about Central Michigan. Returning to cold weather will be no problem.

"Even at West [Catholic] I hated the summertime stuff," he said, laughing. "It was brutal at Arizona Western. One day we had workouts in 126-degree heat. The trainer had trash cans filled with ice and water about every 15 yards along the sideline. He made you jump into one every so often."

Once AW's coaches made the decision to redshirt him, Rhoades darn near lived in the weight room.

"The assistant coach who ran that room and kept track of everything, said I had twice as much time in there as anyone else," he said. "So now my 235 is entirely different. I'm ready to go."

One of Rhoades' Duquesne teammates will be West product Khiry Carter, a soph-to-be wideout.

"He likes it there. He's excited," Rhoades said. "He said they even have adidas sponsoring them now." *