Memphis secondary prospect Farmer adapting to change

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Rod Farmer
Photo by Dudley E. Dawson
Rod Farmer

— A position addition could put Memphis White Station senior standout Rod Farmer on a bigger playing field in college.

Farmer (6-3, 180), one of several White Station players on hand at Arkansas’ football camp on Tuesday, had previously just played wide receiver before getting some work at cornerback toward the end of last season.

“I think me playing both ways and switching positions like this really showcases my versatility and where I can compete and be a factor at any position out on the field,” Farmer said. “I think that is good for college coaches to see that if they recruit me that they can just put me wherever and I will compete and do my best.”

After touring the school and the football facilities on Monday, Farmer got the chance to work with Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis and secondary coach Ron Cooper on Tuesday.

“I love the coaches,” Farmer said. “They took me in like I was family. I really felt at home.

“It was fun. I had a lot of fun and it was great to come out here and compete. I love how everybody was out here competing. The facilities are amazing and it was just real nice.”

Farmer, who towered over the other cornerbacks working on Tuesday, believes he has some God-given skills that help him out on both sides of the ball.

“I think I have good length and was just blessed with this body and I thank God for it,” Farmer said. “I think my speed is another strength. I run track and am trying to become even more explosive.

“Wide receiver went great for me last year. I am a taller wide receiver, but I also move laterally very quickly. I think playing DB helps me sharpen that up.”

Farmer has offers from Jackson State, UAPB and Chattanooga with bigger schools like Arkansas, Tulsa and Oklahoma wanting to see the 2019 prospect in game action as a cornerback/safety early in the 2018 season.

“There are a lot of schools that seem interested in me, but want to see me at camp and then watch me for a few games this season before making a decision,” Farmer said. “I get that and I’ll be working hard to show them what they want.”

White Station head coach Joe Rocconi, who also brought highly-recruited 2020 offensive lineman Ray Curry and 2019 linebacker Eli Neal to Arkansas, feels big things are coming for Farmer.

“…I don’t think a lot of people know about Rod,” Rocconi said on Tuesday. “I think he is a little bit of a late bloomer and part of that is our fault for having him only at receiver.

“He didn’t play a whole lot of defensive back, didn’t rep a lot because he was behind a pretty good starter for us who is starting somewhere in college now. Moving him there and kind of talking him into it really, he’ll do anything you ask, but now he has fully bought in and may be pretty decent on this side of the ball.”

Rocconi believes playing both sides of the ball is beneficial for all of his Spartans.

“He’ll still play receiver for us, he’ll play both ways and I think that helps our kids, especially at the next level," he said. "He is a great kid, works hard, tremendous talent with great upside. I think he is going to explode real soon in the recruiting game, but I do think he is the kind of kid that has his head on right and is focused and in the right direction.

"He wants to be a good White Station Spartan first and then be pretty successful at the next level, too.”

White Station finished last season 5-8, but advanced to the Class 6A state playoff quarterfinals with upset wins over Arlington and Germantown in the first two rounds.

The Spartans returned only three starters in 2017, but have a ton on both sides coming back this season.

“I think what makes White Station different is that on most teams you have a cool group that is apart from some others, but we are a brotherhood and really all tied together,” Farmer said. “All of us are different in our ways, but we all play a role in this family. It is just great.”

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