After picking up two Big 12 offers last week, offensive lineman Clay Rhodes from Stilwell (Kan.) Blue Valley notched his third during a junior day at the University of Tulsa. It wasn't Rhodes' first trip to Tulsa, but it was the most informative.
"I really enjoyed it," said the 6-6, 265-pound tackle. "There were a lot of kids there, but I had a great experience with getting to know the coaching staff and program a lot better.
"I loved (head) coach (Bill) Blankenship, he's a real genuine guy and a great coach. I really respect him. Also, I got to spend time with the offensive line coach Denver Johnson. I loved him, he seems like a great coach."
Rhodes also got a good look at Tulsa's recently renovated facilities.
"They were really nice, the campus was beautiful," he explained. "I really liked the Case building and everything inside of it."
Despite getting heavy attention from BCS programs, including offers from Missouri and Kansas State, Rhodes continues to have strong interest in the Hurricane program.
"Well I've always liked Tulsa because of its fantastic academic reputation, so they're definitely up there at this point," he added.
In making his college choice, Rhodes has a number of criteria that he will evaluate during the recruiting process.
"It just needs to have the right fit," he said. "A solid coaching staff, quality academics, somewhat close to home, and basically a place where I can succeed as both an athlete and a student."
Rhodes helped lead Blue Valley to the Kansas 5A state championship game last season, but they came up just short, losing 33-21 to Hutchinson. The loss will provide extra motivation for Rhodes in his senior season.
"I feel like I'm a very strong pass blocker and a powerful run blocker," he described. "I've gone through all my film and figured out I need to work on a few things, and I'm also working on getting bigger, faster, and stronger."
Rhodes plans to see several more college programs during the off-season, including Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri and Northwestern.
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