Steven Rhodes graduated from Middle Tennessee University last May as a student-athlete, an NFL prospect, a father of two, and a veteran of the Marine Corps.
Steven Rhodes, a native of Antioch Tennessee, graduated from high school in 2007. He didn’t play football his senior year, and when he joined the Marine Corps out of high school in 2008, he had no intention of pursuing college football. However, while in the Marine Corps, Rhodes began to play in a casual football league, and his passion for the game was rekindled. With encouragement from friends and support from his wife (whom he met in a mess hall in Pensacola while she served in the U.S. Navy), Rhodes decided that upon return to civilian life, he would play college football.
Rhodes expressed interest in several institutions, and Middle Tennessee State University Football coach, Rick Stockstill, answered the call. Rhodes recorded four successful seasons as a Blue Raider, playing in every game. His coaches and teammates alike valued his contributions. Coach Stockstill said the following on Rhodes in an MTSU Sidelines article written by Tyler Lamb:
“Steven is exemplary as a leader, as a football player, as a teammate, as a member of this community . . . I’m honored to coach him and I’m proud that he’s on this team.”
In 2016, Rhodes received the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Merit Award, “to recognize Rhode’s achievement as a veteran who used his armed forces experiences to benefit his teammates and coaches at Middle Tennessee State University” (Steven Rhodes Named The 2016 Armed Forces Merit Award Recipient).
Rhode’s military background had a definite positive impact on his team, and his experience as a college football player was invaluable to himself and to his family:
"Husband, father, student and football player. It was tough, but it was worth it to be a great example for my kids. I'm just happy I can show other veterans it's possible to achieve your dream after active duty, no matter how hard the task and how full your plate is." (Aldo Amato, USA Today Network)