by Austin Silvey @SilveyESP
CLEMSON, SC — By now you know the story of how Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers tore his ACL during spring practice in March. You also probably already know that in just six months he was already back on the field of play.
What is so impressive, even beyond the recovery time, is the impact he has had since returning.
In his freshman and sophomore campaigns (2017-18), Rodgers played in 27 games. In those he caught 74 passes for 698 yards and FOUR touchdowns. That’s an average of 2.7 catches, 25.9 yards, and 0.15 touchdowns per game; also an average of 9.43 yards per reception.
Now a junior, and coming off a significant injury, Rodgers has played in EIGHT of the NINE games for the Tigers. He is third on the team in number of receptions (22) and has 365 yards receiving — 16.6 yards per catch. He also has FOUR touchdown receptions which is an average of 0.5 per game played and matches his previous two seasons combined.
To go along with those stats, he also has one carry that went for 29 yards and a touchdown, giving him FIVE total scores so far this year. He is fourth on the team in all-purpose yards as well behind Etienne, Higgins and Ngata.
Even as talented and deep as Clemson’s receiving corp is, Rodgers presence on the field has made a tremendous impact. He is the lone veteran that fits the slot position role that was lost when Tiger legend, Hunter Renfrow, finally had to graduate and leave the program.
After the Wofford game, Coach Tony Elliott spoke with the media and said this in regards to deserving vs earning...
“Often we feel like we deserve more than we really work to earn, so my word is earn. Go out and earn it, because life isn’t fair and you’re not always going to get what you feel like you deserve. At the end of the day you will get what you earn, whatever work you put in, you will get the appropriate reward. It may not be what you want, but at the end of the day you can feel good about it.”
This wasn’t directly related to Amari’s situation but it is something that can certainly be applied to it.
Rodger’s sensational work ethic, strength, and talent have all culminated into the success we are seeing from him this season. He has looked strong and confident when running with the football this year — almost as if the injury never even happened.
His ‘rebirth’ this season is directly correlated to his desire and perseverance. His will to go and EARN back everything he had fought for before the injury is bearing fruit right before our eyes.
His abilities provide an element to the Clemson offense that no other player currently can provide. He will continue to be a key piece for the Tigers as they move towards the end of the regular season and make a push for a fifth straight College Football Playoff appearance.