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Robbie Rhodes still firmly committed to Baylor

This is not Robbie Rhodes.  I just don't have access to any pictures of Robbie Rhodes.  This is a cheerleader.  Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
This is not Robbie Rhodes. I just don't have access to any pictures of Robbie Rhodes. This is a cheerleader. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

I don't really have an elegant way to phrase the title of this post because I don't really have anything elegant to say within it. There's been a lot of speculation recently, beginning with UT's decision to stop recruiting RSJ, that the Longhorns might turn their covetous eyes to Robbie Rhodes, Baylor's 4/5* WR commit from Fort Worth Southwest HS. It appears that they have now done so or intend to in the near future. He's a fantastic player who will be an impact receiver the moment he sets foot on campus, so it makes sense that they might look his way. It should be noted that this isn't the normal situation (or at least the typical one recently) of a Baylor commit getting a new offer and then starting to look around. When he committed to Baylor in May, Rhodes did so holding a Texas offer in hand and having visited their campus recently.

I'm not writing this to keep you from freaking out about the potential loss of our best recruit in the 2013 class. Nobody can be sure if that will happen or not. It might. If it does, we'll wring our hands and grouse about it profusely. I'm also not going to tell you to put down the pitchforks you may be pointing the Longhorns' way. I can and will say that this is a natural part of recruiting we need to get used to; as we start to recruit better and better players to come to Baylor, more and more programs will want to recruit them even after they are committed verbally. For the record, we do it, too. Briles doesn't stop recruiting a kid until either the recruit says to or the signature is on the page.

UPDATE: I put in a jump because this thing was eating my front page alive. And added a point of clarification from Max Olson, the writer of the HornsNation article.

I will also say that there is an unfortunate echo chamber aspect of recruiting that pops up in this kind of situation. This is a great example. Most of the consternation about the Robbie Rhodes situation from our end (and the hope from the other) stems from the final line of that Insider piece I linked above. Other recruiting sites take that line and the inferred meaning thereof, repeat it ad nauseam, and it becomes gospel in recruiting circles. That's what I mean by "echo chamber." Repeat something enough times and it becomes truth. The line in question states:

"I want to know for sure. I like Baylor, really. But right now, my mind is still not made up.

Predictably (and reasonably), Longhorns have taken that quote to mean that Rhodes isn't convinced about his own commitment to Baylor and may be actively looking around. The Dallas Morning News even went so far as to say that it was evidence "the receiver didn't completely rule out the idea of switching allegiances when pressed." I guess I can see how, if you read that quote alone, you might come to that conclusion reasonably, especially if you were somewhat slanted toward the Horns in the first place. The problem is that the writer of the original ESPN piece chose not to include his own preceding question to provide more context.* We don't know what he asked. To take the point to its a ludicrous end, it's possible that Rhodes was asked to choose his favorite team colors and answered with the quote above. From that quote alone, it's impossible to know.

*Olson said on twitter that his actual question was "Is it too late for Texas?" That sheds a little more light on the wording, but not necessarily the meaning.

But we do know what the writer said in the preceding sentence because it's right there in the article:

The Longhorns might still have a chance, though. Rhodes said he currently has no plans to take visits elsewhere, but its not too late for Texas to re-enter the picture.

Two things about this excerpt. First, the part about Texas re-entering the picture was not in quotes. That means Robbie didn't say it directly. The first part blocked above (about his mind not being made up) was, so he did. Second, putting the first in the context of the second, it seemed to me on first reading that the part Rhodes wasn't sure about was whether he will take future visits, not whether he should remain committed to Baylor. I honestly don't see how you could read both and come to the conclusion that Robbie was "pressed" about switching allegiances. But I didn't know for sure what Robbie meant because I don't have any inside information.

As luck would have it, however, BearsTruth's Colt Barber managed to contact Rhodes about this piece to ask him what he meant. Rhodes told him that the "mind is still not made up" quote relates to the possibility of future visits and not about his current commitment to the Baylor Bears. At this point, much is ado about nothing. Every source I can find that has actually weighed in on the situation objectively seems to agree that Texas swinging Rhodes at this point is a longshot at best. Rhodes seems to genuinely love Baylor from what he's said in the past and, potential visits aside, has never wavered in his commitment. Unless something incredible happens, I think Robbie Rhodes will be a Baylor Bear. A less-cited portion of that Max Olson piece basically says that, too.

Rhodes said hes still firm in his commitment to Baylor and speaks with Bears coaches weekly, and he attended their season-opening win over SMU earlier this month.

So you know what? I will say you should stop freaking out. Because you should stop freaking out.