Rodriguez Names Favorite
By Matthew Osborne
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Daniel Rodriguez, Southern Pigskin's 2011 Person of the Year, has named a favorite school in recruiting.
By now, you are likely familiar with the story of Daniel Rodriguez, Southern Pigskin’s 2011 Person of the Year. (View full story here: http://m.southernpigskin.com/ACC/view/the-daniel-rodriguez-story)
A veteran of the current War on Terror, Rodriguez earned a Bronze Star for Valor for his tremendous display of courage during a bloody encounter in the deserts of Afghanistan. His story has been featured by a variety of news sources, including Dan Rather Reports and Fox & Friends.
Now back safely on US soil, Rodriguez is channeling all of his energy towards his goal of playing major college football, as he promised a fallen friend and soldier in Afghanistan that he would do. He routinely spends up to six hours a day working out in the gym or on the football field, in addition to taking a full load of classes at a nearby community college.
When you combine Rodriguez’s exceptional drive and leadership with his phenomenal athletic abilities, you have the makings of a highly-coveted recruit. Despite his unique situation as a 24-year old Army veteran, in many regards Rodriguez is just like any other athlete being recruited to play a collegiate sport.
“It’s been going very well,” Rodriguez responded when asked about the recruiting process. “Hopefully it will lead to another world of what I never thought was possible when I started out on this venture. I’ve been contacted by a lot of schools and I have been getting very positive feedback.”
Much like any other athlete who has been garnering a great deal of recruiting attention from college programs, Rodriguez has been forced to narrow his focus to a select list of schools at this point in the process. Currently, he says that there are five schools that are still in the running for his services: Clemson, Georgia Southern, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Of those five institutions, Rodriguez says that Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech appear to be after him the hardest. Here is what he had to say about each of those programs:
Clemson – “They’ve been contacting me and letting me know that they are interested. I’ve been talking to Coach (Dabo) Swinney and he just seems like someone I would want to play for. Every time he talks to you he just fires you up. Just letting me know that if I play for him there will not be favorites played; the best man is going to earn the position. That’s what I like to hear as a player.”
Virginia – “I’ve been in contact with Coach (Mike) London and his staff, and they are somebody else I would want to play for. Coach London is always motivating over the phone about being a better football player.”
Virginia Tech – “With Tech, I haven’t got as much feedback recently as they were sending me before, but at the same time, I’ve still been in contact with them and trying to make sure that everything would be squared away if I were to go there.”
While Rodriguez does not expect to make a decision any time soon due to his unique situation, which involves transferring in and having to deal with compliance officers at each of the schools, he does say that one school is currently standing out ahead of the rest of the pack.
“My number one right now is Clemson. They are a really good school and I like talking to Coach Swinney a lot. I talk to Coach Swinney a couple of times a week, and I email their compliance office basically everyday.”
As Rodriguez’s recruiting process will likely extend on for another couple of months, there is still time for a school other than Clemson to swoop in and make a major impression on the gem of the 2012 recruiting class. For now, however, it appears that the Tigers have the inside track to land Rodriguez’s services.