Skip to comments.Purple Heart recipient makes good on promise after getting cleared to join Clemson (football)
Posted on 08/02/2012 1:08:17 AM PDT by Zakeet
Daniel Rodriguez is about to fulfill a dream, and more importantly to him, keep a promise to a brother-in-arms.
Rodriguez found out this week he had been cleared by the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference to join Clemson's football team as a walk-on receiver.
Once Rodriguez trots onto the practice field Friday in his orange No. 83 for Clemson's first practice, he'll complete a transformation from a struggling teenager to a young man who's achieved his goal after witnessing some of the most horrific fighting in Afghanistan.
"It's been kind of long journey," he said Wednesday.
Rodriguez played football at Brooke Point High in Stafford, Va., but acknowledged he let his parents' divorce and problems at school get the better of him. When his father Ray, died four days after graduation, Rodriguez was devastated and seeking a way out. He chose the Army.
"I went to the recruiter and said, `Get me away from here,"' Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez served in Iraq during the troop surge of 2007. 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 said close to 400 Taliban combatants overwhelmed the U.S. outpost of fewer than 40 soldiers. Eight Americans were killed, including Rodriguez's friend, Pfc. Kevin Thompson.
Just a few days earlier, the two young men shared their dreams of what they'd do after returning home. Thompson made Rodriguez promise to chase his goal of playing college football.
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbssports.com ...
Daniel Rodriguez ... hero ... wants to become a sports trainer
Much more in the article.
This is one Clemson story I don’t mind reading, and one aspect of their football team i will admire. However, I will not be cheering for his team on November 24!!
GO CAROLINA!!!! Spurrier rules!!! :0)
"I'm not this high-scouted athlete expected to change this program," Rodriguez said. "I'm just a cog on the wheel that's going to play my role and better the team from an individual standpoint and give insight from what I've been through as a person. If I can help mold some of these guys in the locker room to have the same perspective on life I have, that's a benefit."
Kid has a good attitude. God Bless him.
Cool story, good on him.
I love that quote. I wish him great success- and hope that his story gets the RUDY fame!