TUCSON – It’s hard to imagine any recruit being more familiar with the program he’s about to join than Rhett Rodriguez. But shortly after the Tucson Catalina Foothills quarterback’s commitment to Arizona became official Wednesday, he realized he was about to experience something new.
“It’s going to be interesting, because I’m never the guy he yells at,” Rodriguez said – “he” being Rich Rodriguez, Rhett’s father and the Wildcats’ head coach.
“At practice, he’ll yell at people. I don’t think it’s funny, but I’m like, ‘Eh, that’s just what Dad does.’ If he’s yelling at me, which will happen … I’ll be fine. I don’t think I’ll take it too personal.”
Before the father-son relationship enters a new phase in the fall, the Rodriguez clan shared a once-in-a-lifetime moment at Catalina Foothills’ signing-day ceremony. Rich, wife, Rita, and daughter, Raquel, were among dozens packed into a classroom just steps from the football field where Rhett became a college prospect. The crowd cheered and snapped pictures as Rhett and six of his classmates signed their national letters of intent.
Rich Rodriguez never had experienced National Signing Day from this particular perspective.
“I’ve seen it from the other side – way on the other side, standing by a fax machine,” he said. “I’m not worried about faxing this one. I’ll just carry it to the office in a few minutes.”
Rhett Rodriguez was supposed to be one of two quarterbacks in Arizona’s 2017 class. But four-star prospect Braxton Burmeister signed with Oregon instead. With veteran Anu Solomon having transferred, Rodriguez is one of only three scholarship QBs on the roster.
If returning veterans Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate were to get hurt, Rodriguez could be forced to play as a freshman. Is he ready for that?
“Yeah, definitely,” said Rodriguez, who says he knows about 90 percent of the offense already. “You never know what’s going to happen. I’m going to go in and try to be ready to play from Day 1.”
While some are skeptical that Rodriguez can play at the FBS level – he’s a three-star prospect, per 247Sports, and listed by UA at 6-foot-1 – his future and former coaches aren’t among them.
“I wouldn’t sign anybody or bring anybody into the program if I didn’t think they could contribute and play,” Rich Rodriguez said.
“If it’s achievable,” Catalina Foothills coach Jeff Scurran said, “Rhett will climb that ladder and get it done. I don’t think he knows anything else. I don’t think he was raised to understand anything else.”