Baylor has another Josh Gordon situation on its hands, apparently, in that an immensely talented sophomore WR has been kicked off the team. This time it is Robbie Rhodes, confirms ESPN 1660's David Smoak via twitter. Rhodes, who was arrested in the spring for possession, reportedly failed his second drug test, though that part is as-yet unconfirmed.
This news is extremely disappointing for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that, should Rhodes not be reinstated to the team, Baylor's offense just lost a potential impact playmaker both this season and, more importantly, in the future. And they didn't lose him to some kind of debilitating accident or family situation that needed his attention more than the game; Rhodes made a choice that he knew (we can safely assume) carried the risk that this exact scenario would unfold. We can debate the need for legalization (in the context of our state or country, generally) or a relaxing of the rules (at Baylor, specifically) all we like. That's not really the issue. The rules say what they say and carry the penalties they carry. That Rhodes apparently chose to disregard them reflects solely on him. What's more, he was just cleared by the McLennan County DA a couple of weeks ago. There are few things dumber/more arrogant than missing a really close call with the law, knowing you're probably going to be looked at a little more closely in the future, and then doing whatever it was that nearly got you in trouble in the first place, again.
For Baylor, this is almost certainly a bigger blow to future Bears than the present. Though Rhodes was expected to compete with Jay Lee for a starting spot on this year's team, chances were with Antwan Goodley, Corey Coleman, and Levi Norwood returning in big roles that Rhodes' time to shine would have to wait. That time would likely come next season, however, with Goodley and Norwood both graduated and in the NFL. That opportunity will now fall to 2014 recruits K.D. Cannon, Ishmael Zamora, Chris Platt, and Davion Hall, the last of whom enrolled in January and probably has a leg up on the rest. Baylor may also react to this news by changing priorities slightly in the 2015 class, where we have two recruits who probably slot as receivers in Devontre Stricklin and Blake Lynch. We could decide that we need another.
Personally, I'm not so much mad about this news as I am disappointed. I've basically driven the Robbie Rhodes bandwagon since he committed to Baylor just over 2 years ago, and if this is the end, it is somewhat ignominious. All we can hope, I guess, is that Rhodes takes this for the wakeup call that it is and gets his act together somewhere else. He'll get the opportunity, I'm sure, because talent plays almost regardless. But all the opportunities in the world won't matter if he keeps squandering them as he did here.
Next man up, I guess.