DALLAS (FWAA) – Clemson's Daniel Rodriguez is the winner of the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, as selected by a panel of FWAA members. Rodriguez, a redshirt freshman receiver from Stafford, Va., is playing for the Tigers after being awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in Afghanistan.
Rodriguez, who was chosen from several deserving nominees in a vote by a committee of FWAA members, will be presented the award and recognized in conjunction with the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7.
Rodriguez, 24, was wounded Oct. 3, 2009, during a battle near Kamdesh, Afghanistan, while serving in the U.S. Army. Combat Outpost Keating, in a mountainous region near the Pakistan border, was ambushed by nearly 300 Taliban insurgents. Eight Americans were killed; 22 were injured. Rodriguez was shot and wounded in the leg, neck and shoulder.
Once recovered and discharged from the military, Rodriguez kept a promise to his friend, Pfc. Kevin Thompson, who was killed during the initial moments of the attack. Rodriguez had told Thompson if he made it home from Afghanistan, he would find a way to play college football.
After enrolling at Germanna Community College, he began training for football. He sent a video of himself catching passes, spliced with video he'd shot during combat, to four-year schools. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney offered Rodriguez a spot on the team.