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South Carolina Gamecocks football 2014 roster preview: No. 30, Sidney Rhodes

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Former walk-on cornerback may get his chance to see meaningful snaps for a highly ranked SEC program.

Sidney Rhodes
RS senior cornerback
5'10'' / 182 lbs
Easley, S.C.

Recruitment:
Rhodes was unrated out of high school and was not recruited.

College Career:
In 2010, Rhodes completed his freshman year at Western Carolina University, where he walked onto the football team and earned Freshman All-SoCon honors as a return man. Rhodes transferred to South Carolina in 2011 but didn't play football. He walked onto the Gamecocks football team in 2012. Although the staff briefly toyed with training him at wideout, he was quickly moved to corner, where he's been a backup since. Rhodes has made his true impact on special teams, though. In 2012, he collected five tackles on the year, including a couple on kickoff returns against Tennessee. After being awarded a scholarship for his efforts in 2013, Rhodes reprised his role in the special teams kick coverage units, excelling as a gunner in punt return coverage.

2014 Outlook:
In a normal year, Rhodes would have been likely to do no more than to continue contributing on special teams. Given that he's our only upperclassman at corner, though, the potential is there for him to play a significant role in the rotation. Indeed, many Carolina fans were surprised when it was announced that Rhodes will enter August camp as a starter at corner alongside the more established Rico McWilliams. Whether that holds up or not is unclear, as Jamari Smith is right behind Rhodes, and Carolina will hopefully also be adding Chris Lammons and Wesley Green to the fold if they qualify academically. Even if Rhodes doesn't start, though, it seems likely he'll see meaningful playing time this year.

Before you panic, Carolina fans, don't forget that Marty Markett excelled as a former walk-on getting significant playing time at corner in 2010. Rhodes is probably capable of similar production, although the thought of him matching up against a bigger receiver (size is what separates Rhodes from more highly touted corners) is a bit frightening.

Trivia:
Rhodes was a nominee last year for the Burlsworth Award, given to the nation's top former walk-on.