Why should you pay attention to a Clemson receiver not named Sammy Watkins being cleared to play ball in 2012, particularly when he’s a newly minted walk-on? In Daniel Rodriguez’s case, because of the path he took to get to the Tigers: a circuitous route that took him through Army tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the Associated Press:
On his second tour, he found himself in Afghanistan and in the line of fire during one of the war’s bloodiest fights, the battle of Kamdesh in October 2009. [...] Rodriguez left Kamdesh with shrapnel in his leg and neck, and a bullet fragment through his shoulder. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal of Valor. He also received a Purple Heart and was promoted to staff sergeant before an honorable discharge in 2010.
Rodriguez joins a passing offense ranked 21st nationally in 2011 and headlined by the youthful presences of Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Clemson opens the 2012 season in the Georgia Dome against Auburn on Saturday, September 1.