No slowing down Robbie Rhodes

CEDAR HILL, Texas -- A friendly reminder to those trying to frustrate Fort Worth (Texas) Southwest's Robbie Rhodes with trash talk: Don't.

While you might think your verbal jabs are working, all you are really doing is hyping up one of the fastest and most explosive receivers in Texas. And you'll end up eating your words real soon.

"People talk trash but they are just making it harder on their defense," Rhodes said. "God bless them."

Dallas Skyline sophomore linebacker Cameron Hampton was the latest to figure that out during pool play of the Dallas Under Armour Sevens on Saturday.

Hampton, one of the state's top sophomores, engaged in a little friendly banter with Rhodes throughout the 30-minute game. Rhodes barked back a few times but made his biggest statement with three touchdowns in Southwest's victory.

All of that is nothing new to Rhodes. He experienced much of the same May 11 in Austin when he competed in the Class 4A Texas State Track and Field Meet.

Rhodes had a full slate of events to run that damp Friday afternoon, including the 4x100-meter relay, 4x200-meter relay and 200-meter dash. Opposing coaches did what they could to distract him.

"That meet was the same as coming out here," Rhodes said. "All the coaches from other schools were talking to amp up their team and trying to will them to a win. The same thing happened out here today. At the track meet, we had several coaches doing that to me."

Again, it didn't work. Not even as Rhodes took the baton as the anchor in the 4x100 with Lancaster's last sprinter well ahead of him. Rhodes put on one of the performances of the meet by passing the competition like he was standing still. Southwest won the race with a 40.892-second mark.

Rhodes also won the 200 in 21.06 and helped the Raiders to a second-place finish in the 4x200.

"My teammates know as long as the race is close, I can catch up and pull it out," he said. "I have never liked losing. I work my hardest in everything. I try my hardest."

Rhodes was going to have to bring it if he was going to have any success against Carter's lockdown cornerback, Jaylon Scott. Scott, a junior with 10.50 100-meter speed, limited USC-bound Eldridge Massington to just four catches, all of the underneath variety, in a previous game Saturday. He stuck with Rhodes on the right side of the defense the entire time.

Scott didn't have near the success he had with Massington, though. Rhodes caught both passes on Southwest's opening drive, including a one-handed snag to the left side of the end zone. He used a double move to get to the inside of Scott and beat him for a 40-yard touchdown later, and wrapped up the game with a 5-yard touchdown on a crossing pattern.

"I'm not gonna drop anything," Rhodes barked in the direction of Hampton, who smiled back.

Rhodes (6-foot-1, 186 pounds) has been putting together performances like that for a while now. He opened a lot of eyes this past season by amassing 47 catches for 1,319 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also rushed 20 times for 208 yards and six scores, and even threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

But Rhodes really has started to garner heavy interest only over the past few months. He just picked up a Texas offer May 6 to go along with those he already had from Baylor, Missouri, TCU, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Kansas and Oklahoma State. He says he has no favorites right now and expects to make a decision during the summer.

"Certain schools haven't heard of me," Rhodes said. "I understand because they are from different states, different cities. It's hard to hear about someone from Fort Worth."

Believe it or not, Rhodes liked not having the attention on him. His tone upon receiving his offer from the Longhorns, for instance, was mundane at best because it only added to the stress he's already feeling.

"I don't like to disappoint anyone," Rhodes said. "I don't want to get too close to schools because I don't want to let them down. I know that people are depending on me."

With the way he played Saturday, though, he's going to have to expect more people talking to him. Only this time, it won't be trash talk. It will be coaches coming to offer scholarships.