2016 Recipient: Steven Rhodes - DE, Middle Tennessee State University
Following graduation in 2007 from Antioch (Tenn.) High School where he played football, Rhodes enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a shoulder injury and financial issues initially kept him from attending college. Rhodes' "road" back to college football started three years ago when he was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in New River, N.C. When he was moved to MCAS Miramar, Calif., he started for the Miramar Falcons in 2012.
Rhodes joined the Middle Tennessee football program after serving five years in the U.S. Marines. Following his enrollment in 2013, the NCAA originally ruled that Rhodes only had two years of eligibility and would have to sit out the 2013 season since he played recreational football on base for a two-year period. After Rhodes’ eligibility story went national on August 18, 2013, the next day the NCAA issued a statement saying Rhodes could play immediately and had four years of eligibility.
Rhodes credits the Marines for "his healthy perspective and mental toughness. What the [Marines] do and what they stand for - Honor, Courage, Commitment - it stands for every aspect of my life.”
Motivated by his family, Rhodes states that his wife (Adrienne, formerly in the Navy but now a stay-at-home mom who home schools their children) and two sons (Kameron and Devon) inspire him to excel on the football field and in the classroom. Rhodes is pursuing a degree in Organized Communication. Rhodes met his wife while he was in the Marines and she was in the Navy.
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