Through 10 regular season games, Rhett Rodriguez led the Catalina Foothills Falcons to a 9-1 record and No. 6 seed in the 4A Arizona State Playoffs. He was 96-for-156 passing, throwing for 1,992 yards and 22 touchdowns to just two interceptions. His dual-threat nature gained him 283 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground on 70 carries.
In a playoff game vs No. 11 seed Cactus Shadows, Rhett found his team down 14-28 in the opening minutes of the second half. Slowly, the Falcons started chipping away, pulling off a comeback to win 35-31 and advance to the quarterfinals.
“I mean I kept my cool,” Rodriguez said after the game. “Offense we made a few mistakes, I made a few bad throws, but my role is just to keep the offense going, keep the offensive in a positive direction, and in the second half, we stepped up.”
This has been a long time coming for Rhett, having Rich Rodriguez as his father, guiding him throughout his football life. A four-year varsity starter for Catalina Foothills, the 6-foot, 190 pound quarterback has a strong command on the offense. All night long he was barking out calls at the line and alerting his teammates.
“Coach gives me the option to audible sometimes,” he said about his offensive control. “And if I see that they’re in a front that can give us some problems, I have the opportunity to check into some different things.”
“Sometimes I’m just pointing out that they might blitz this backer. Watching film, I can see their tendencies,” Rodriguez added. “I’m just trying to help our o-line figure out what’s going on in the play.”
Catalina Foothills head coach Jeff Scurran had high praise for his quarterback, his first ever four-year at starter at any position in his 43 years of coaching.
“He made adjustments on sight reads, patterns,” Scurran said of Rhett. “You start to look at what he did in that fourth quarter and everything he did was spot on. And that’s just the type of kid he is, he just doesn’t make mistakes. He’s a consummate leader.”
Rhett is incredibly smart both on and off the field. He spends endless hours watching film, all while maintaining straight A’s in school. And while his father has taught him everything he knows about the game and made him into the player he is, there’s a lot of pressure.
“Of course,” Rhett answered when asked if there’s pressure because of his last name. “But to me, it’s a blessing. I don’t look at any negatives. Sure, I’ll be scrutinized a little more. Sure, there’s a little more pressure on me. But the advantages I have, to have an offensive genius, a football genius, at home eating dinner with me, it’s clearly an advantage. I think it’s been a major key for me in football.”
Rodriguez was officially the second commitment for the 2017 recruiting class, an unranked quarterback at the time. Since then, he’s achieved a 3-star ranking, and is now a top-40 dual-threat quarterback. The Arizona class has also grown to 27 members.
“Yeah, I was one of the first people committed,” when asked about his ambassador role in the class. “Everyone committed so fast I didn’t even get to talk to some of them but I try my best to get the word out there, let them know that Arizona is the place to be. I think it’s going to be a great class.”
Rhett will be joined by 3-star tight end Bryce Wolma in this upcoming recruiting class, one of his childhood friends during his time at Michigan. Out of Saline High (Saline, Michigan) Wolma has helped lead the Hornets to a deep playoff run.
The two started playing back in middle school, and have kept in touch since then, with the occasional visit as well.
“Every time I see Bryce, I just smile,” Rodriguez said of his childhood pal. “He’s the best. I can’t think of one thing bad about him.”
“We played together in seventh grade,” he added. “One day in the summer I went back and started watching film of us in seventh grade and I was throwing bombs to him, no one can cover him and he’s just a freak. I’ll probably room with him and I just can’t wait to spend more time with him again.”
You can watch Wolma’s highlights from last season here