The Sumiton Christian senior quarterback/linebacker had a knack for being at the right place at the right time for the Eagles.
Whether Rhodes needed a big pass play or a defensive stop, he always seemed to come through for coach Greg Patterson.
“Everything Andrew did was instrumental in what we were trying to accomplish. I can’t say enough good things about him. Even though he was a difference maker for us on on offense, he carried our defense as well,” Patterson said.
Now Rhodes is taking his game to the next level. He signed a letter-of-intent with Huntingdon College last week. He will play for coach Mike Turk at the Division III Montgomery school beginning this fall.
Rhodes, who played quarterback for Sumiton Christian each of the last two seasons, accounted for 14 touchdowns as a senior, leading the Eagles to the state football playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Rhodes completed 53-of-120 passes for 689 yards and seven scores along with five interceptions. He also led the team on the ground, rushing for 783 yards and seven touchdowns on 137 carries.
As linebacker, Rhodes was second on the team with 78 tackles, including 54 solo. He also picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown.
“Every time we needed a play, Andrew would deliver,” Sumiton Christian defensive coordinator Zac Holmes said.
Against Westminster Christian, a game the Eagles had to win in order to make the playoffs, Rhodes took control of the contest.
“On first down, he makes a big tackle, slamming a guy to the ground. He makes a tackle for loss on the next two plays. This was on the last drive of the game, when we needed a stop.”
Against Westminster Christian, Rhodes had 14 tackles, four for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery. Both turnovers resulted in touchdowns in the 17-14 win.
“Andrew really took to defense this last year. He developed those skills. He has a passion to play defense so he decided to go to Huntingdon,” Patterson added. “He was the quarterback of our defense. He made coverage calls and all the adjustments. He really made a big difference in us being a defensive-minded team like we wanted to be.
“I know coach Turk and coach (Landius) Wilkerson, the linebacker coach, have high expectations. They see Andrew coming in and playing a lot as a true freshman.”
At Huntingdon, Rhodes is expected to play on the defensive side of the ball.
That’s fine with him.
“I guess I have more of a defensive mindset. You could say that hitting people is what I like to do,” Rhodes said. “They recruited me as an outside linebacker, but who knows, when I get down there I could end up playing quarterback. Coach Turk told me I could try whichever position I wanted to. I could play safety.
“I have to thank God first. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here and have this opportunity.”
Rhodes also had an offer to play quarterback at Maryville (Tenn.) College.
“It was a hard decision. I have all the respect for the coaches at Maryville. I also like the coaches at Huntingdon. They seem like great people who are doing things the right way. I couldn’t turn it down,” Rhodes said.
Two Sumiton Christian football players have signed this month. Running back Austin Roach signed with Birmingham Southern two weeks ago. Huntingdon and Birmingham Southern play every year.
Rhodes is looking to lining up across the field from his former Sumiton Christian teammate.
“We’ll play each other next year and for the four years we’re both there. Austin is my best friend. We kind of connected as soon as I got here. I’ve been used to handing the ball off to him. Now I will be hitting him when he has the ball. That will be a big change,” Rhodes added.