News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today
SUNDAY, JULY 3, 2005

Hot Rod
Decatur teen is finalist for Cosmogirl’s ‘Hottest Guy in America’

By Jenny Thompson
DAILY Intern · 340-2447

Friends and family of Christopher Rodriguez say he's more than eye candy. He's a smart and ambitious teenager, too.

Christopher Rodriguez hopes voters will drive him to victory in a national magazine photo contest.
DAILY Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Christopher Rodriguez hopes voters will drive him to victory in a national magazine photo contest.
The finalist in Cosmogirl! magazine's "Battle of the Boys" contest, Rodriguez said he never dreamed he would get this far in the competition.

"At school, a bunch of people I
didn't even know were like 'Good job! I voted for you today,' " Rodriguez said.

His older sister, Brooke, entered him in the competition to determine the hottest guy in America in December.

"I thought it was a way to get his face out there," Brooke said. "You could tell he was excited, but he tried not to act that way."

If Rodriguez wins, he and his sister will receive $1,000 from Cosmogirl! Both say they'll use it for college tuition.

"If I had known I was going to do this well, I would have let my sisters send pictures all over the place," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, 18, graduated from Austin High School with a 3.4 GPA in May and plans to attend Auburn University. He received a $1,000 academic scholarship.

Wanting to become a Navy fighter pilot, Rodriguez will major in either aeronautical or mechanical engineering — the two degrees accepted by Navy flight-training programs.

"He's wanted to fly ever since he could talk," said his mom, Anita Green Murphy.

Rodriguez said he always enjoyed flying to visit his father in Florida, and watching the movie "Top Gun" as a child cemented his dream of flying into combat.

At Austin, Rodriguez played football for four years and was a member of Austin Ambassadors and Key Club. He enjoys hunting, wakeboarding and playing paintball.

"I have expensive hobbies," he said.

He recently went skydiving for the first time with an experienced friend.

"I would love to get certified," Rodriguez said, "but once again, that's a little bit of money."

Rodriguez knows that life is not always fun and fancy-free.

Four years ago doctors diagnosed his grandfather with the human form of mad cow disease.

Although his grandfather remained conscious for most of his illness, he could not get out of his bed or care for himself.

He stayed with "Granny" lifting and rolling his grandfather when needed and giving her someone to talk with and at times a break from caretaking.

'Really cute'

Brooke said her brother deserves to win because not only does he have the look, but also he's an all-around great guy.

"He's really down-to-earth even though he's really cute," she said. "He doesn't act like he thinks he's cute."

Murphy, who said she's a nervous wreck awaiting the outcome of the contest, said she wants her son to win the competition, but she knows he will do well in other endeavors.

"He's smart enough that if this is not the road God chooses for him, he's got the brains to fall back on."

Fave raves

Color: Bue

Movie: "Black Hawk Down"

TV Show: "The OC"

In CD player: Audioslave — "Out of Exile"

Restaurant: The Back Porch in Destin, Fla.

Vacation spot: Destin

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