FORT WORTH, Texas — Daniel Rodriguez, a senior wide receiver and special teams player at Clemson University, is the third recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.
Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that has an impact within the realm of college football.”
Selected by a seven-person committee made up of representatives from the FWAA and the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Rodriguez joins Nate Boyer of the University of Texas and Brandon McCoy of the University of North Texas as recipients of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA.
Boyer, who is completing his third-season as the long snapper for the Longhorns, was honored in 2012 while McCoy was the 2013 recipient during his fourth and final season as a defensive lineman for the Mean Green.
Rodriguez, 26, was an Armed Forces Merit Award semi-finalist both years while playing at Clemson, where he was the 2012 recipient of the Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage and USAA Athletic Inspiration Awards and an ESPY finalist for the Jim Valvano Perseverance Award.
Attending college on the GI Bill, Rodriguez was offered a spot on the 2012 Clemson team as a walk-on after coach Dabo Swinney saw a video about the former U.S. Army Sergeant and recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device for his heroism at Kamdesh.
“On this very special day, Veterans’ Day 2014, we are pleased to join with the Football Writers Association of America to honor Daniel Rodriguez from Clemson University as the third recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award,” said Brant Ringler, executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. “We had list of outstanding nominations for this year’s award and it is difficult to honor only one each year when we have men and programs that are very deserving of the honor.”
FWAA President Kirk Bohls, a columnist for the Austin American-Statesman, echoed Ringler’s sentiments along with adding that the FWAA is “pleased to team with Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl to recognize Rodriguez’ achievement as a veteran who used his armed forces experiences to benefit his teammates and coaches at Clemson University. The FWAA also salutes the other 2014 nominations for their contributions on-and-off the field of play.”