Varina’s (VA) varsity football team begins a new era this season, with new head coach Stu Brown taking over the reigns from former head coach Gary Chilcoat. Coach Brown is excited about the 2008 group, which includes top defensive line prospect DeAntre Rhodes and top rising junior offensive lineman Marquis Wallace, among others.
“It means everything,” Brown said of the Varina job. “The expectations and standards are high. It is one of the premier jobs in the Central Region. It is an honor. There are high expectations so there is a little pressure, but fortunately our kids understand discipline and work ethic. Some coaches may have to battle with that in their first year, but I don’t. Our players expect to win.”
6-3, 265-pound DeAntre Rhodes has started on the varsity level since his freshman year. He started out his career solely as an offensive guard, but he will end it solely as a defensive lineman as Coach Brown is taking the talented prospect off of the offensive side of the ball.
“Not only is he physically gifted, but he has a motor that is non-stop,” Brown said of Rhodes. “We were trying to compare him to people we have had in the past at Varina. We couldn’t think of anyone that was as nasty as he is. He is out there for one reason and that is to punish the person in front of him. He is a go-getter. He lets the person he lines up against know that they will deal with him for 48 minutes. That is what impressed me the most.”
An all-state selection on both sides of the ball last season as a junior, Rhodes seems to be really taking to being a defense-only player.
“I got behind the sled the other day. I stood behind him and it was just different from others. He hit it with a quicker, harder pop,” Brown said. “He plays with aggression. You can’t teach that.”
A top in-state recruit, Rhodes has earned official scholarship offers from Boston College, Clemson, East Carolina, James Madison, Maryland, Michigan, Purdue, South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech. In previous interviews, Rhodes was steadfast in his desire to take at least a few official visits before making a commitment. Nothing appears to have changed on that front.
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