It’s been quite the season for the Boise State Broncos and it’s not even November.
Lost in the shuffle of the rise of Brett Rypien, the runs of Jeremy McNichols, a talented defense, and devastating losses against BYU and Utah State, there stands a man quietly going about his business.
He is small of stature but tall on talent and heart. Most of the time, this Boise State player is the shortest man on the field. You’d never know it by the 210 career receptions he’s hauled in, a mere 34 from tying Matt Miller’s school record.
Yep, Shane Williams-Rhodes is truly a giant among men.
Standing only 5’6, Williams-Rhodes is the heart and soul of this team, a player that has seen it all while at Boise State.
He has battled injuries. He was a key player on the 2014 Fiesta Bowl winning team and was also on a team that had one of the worst records (8-5) at Boise State in the last 15 years.
Williams-Rhodes has caught passes from five different quarterbacks, played for three offensive coordinators, and two head coaches. Through it all, Williams-Rhodes continues to do what he does best: work hard, catch the ball, and dazzle.
Williams-Rhodes has caught 40 passes for 325 yards this season, averaging just over eight yards per catch, in line with his career average. Many of those passes are caught just past the line of scrimmage, the extra yardage thanks to timely blocking and the inspired play of Williams-Rhodes.
He is coming off a five-catch, 38-yard performance against Utah St. It was a very workmanlike performance from the receiver that included one of the few Boise State highlights when he forced a fumble after an Utah St. interception.
There’s still one thing missing from the resume of Williams-Rhodes through the season’s first seven games. He has yet to get into the end zone though he has thrown a 53-yard touchdown pass, giving him an impressive 875.2 quarterback rating.
Williams-Rhodes has been a steady, influencing force since first setting foot in a game in 2012. Often a focal point of Boise State’s game plan (and opposing defenses as well), he still finds ways to contribute. In addition to his 210 career receptions, Williams-Rhodes has carried the ball for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
He has five career games of double-digit receptions. In 2013, he had 77 receptions and might have had a chance for a single-season record if he hadn’t missed two games.
One of those games with double-digit receptions came in 2013 against this weekend’s opponent, Wyoming. Williams-Rhodes had 11 catches for 79 yards in Boise State’s 48-7 victory.
For his career against the Cowboys, Williams-Rhodes has 13 receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown to go along with six carries for 86 yards and another touchdown.
Fans have five or six games left to enjoy watching Williams-Rhodes showcase his abilities at Boise State. Even if he doesn’t set the record, the career of this young man should be applauded. And hopefully by the time the final home game rolls around, Williams-Rhodes will have crossed the goal line with his first receiving touchdown of the year.
When he does, I’m sure he’ll celebrate the same way he has celebrated his college career: with a touch of style and a whole lot of class.