The tight end position is a prime spot in the USC offense. Shane Beamer and tight ends coach Jody Wright assembled an impressive group for the 2023 season and they plan to add two more in the 2024 class.
They have a commitment from Michael Smith of Savannah, and this week Wright handed out offers to Amir Jackson (6-5 218) of Portal, GA and Willie Rodgriguez (6-4 238) of Covington, KY.
Rodriguez also has offers from Texas Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Duke and others. He was very happy to hear from Wright this week and add the Gamecocks to his offer list.
“Coach Wright gave me a call, we talked for a while, we got to know each other a lot, and he really liked me a lot,” Rodriguez said. “He saw my film obviously. He saw my wrestling clips, and he also a few clips of me at camp.”
“He said my ball skills were great, my hands were great and my catch radius was great,” Rodriguez continued. “My blocking comes in with the wresting part. I have really good techniqe and leverage. He could use me a lot of different ways in their offense. They are taking a second tight end in the ’24 class, so he was interested and he offered me then.”
Rodriguez still has some work to do related to his recruiting process, but the Gamecocks figure to be a player for him moving forward.
“Certainly, a big offer for me,” Rodriguez said. “It’s real exciting to get that offer and I’m definitely going to take a visit. I don’t have any top schools yet. I’m definitely keeping all doors open, but definitely could be up there.”
Rodriguez has not yet visited USC, but he watched from afar last season as Beamer orchestrated a season well beyond what most expected of him in year two.
“They’ve looked great, they had some really big wins last year,” he said. “They’re coaching staff seems great and I really can’t wait to get down there and meet them all in person and get a feel for what South Carolina is all about.”
This spring Rodriguez made stops at Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Penn State and Pitt. He does not have any more visits planned for now.
He was limited to five games last season due to an elbow fracture, and Rodriguez had 14 catches for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns.