Rhodes accepts Armed Forces Merit Award

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2017) – Steven Rhodes of Middle Tennessee State University joined other honorees and award recipients Monday morning at the annual Football Writers Association of America breakfast.

Rhodes, who completed his collegiate career at Middle Tennessee by playing on Christmas Eve in the Hawai'i Bowl, was officially presented with the Armed Forces Merit Award at the FWAA event at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, the president of Middle Tennessee State University, introduced Rhodes at the FWAA gathering where Jason Kersey was honored at the Steve Ellis/FWAA beat writer of the year, Buddy Davis received the FWAA lifetime achievement award and Charlie Fiss was named the FWAA Bert McGrane Award recipient.

Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 "to honor an individual and/or a group within the realm of the sport of college football." On Nov. 11, Rhodes was named the fifth recipient of the AFMA, and accepted the award Monday from Dr. McPhee.

Also in attendance at Monday breakfast were MTSU Athletic Director Chris Massaro, Russ Anderson from Conference USA, and Rhodes' wife Adrienne, who is a Navy veteran. Also speaking at the FWAA breakfast were FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson, outgoing FWAA president Mark Anderson (Las Vegas Review-Journal) and incoming association president Dave Jones (PA Media Group).

A 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end and fourth oldest player in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Rhodes was the Blue Raiders' 10th leading tackler this past season with 41 total stops (26 unassisted) with 8.0 tackles for losses, 4.5 sacks, two pass deflections, seven quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. For his 51-game MTSU career, Rhodes had 110 total tackles (71 unassisted) with 17.5 tackles for losses and 9.5 quarterback sacks.