Clemson freshman walk-on wide receiver Daniel Rodrigues has won the Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Rodriguez is 24 years old and an Army veteran. He earned a Purple Heart for his actions in a bloody battle in Afghanistan in 2009. Eight Americans died in that battle, 22 more were injured, including Rodriguez.
“I am very happy for Daniel,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “This is a special award and it further acknowledges his accomplishments. His journey to Clemson has been an inspiration to me, our team and many people around the country. It is a story of overcoming adversity and really brought home to everyone on our team the support we have in our military.”
Rodriguez saw action in all twelve of the Tigers games this season. Most of his work came on special teams, but he also managed three catches for 10 yards.
“Wow, this is a great honor,” Rodriguez said. “I want to thank the Discover Orange Bowl and the Football Writers Association. When I think where I was three years ago, this is like a dream. I just wanted to get on the football field, be a part of a team and a university, but this season has been so much more. I want to thank coach Swinney and Clemson University for giving me this opportunity.”
Rodriguez is the second player from Clemson to win this sward. Tiger defensive back Ray Ray McElrathbey won it in 2006.