2014 Recipient: Daniel Rodriguez - WR, Clemson University

Daniel Rodriguez, a senior wide receiver and special team player at Clemson University, is the third recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).  


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.

While serving in the Army (2006-2010), Rodriguez spent approximately 18 months in Iraq and one year in Afghanistan.  He was involved in Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan (October 3, 2009) when 300 Taliban insurgents battled with 38 U.S. troops (eight Americans lost their lives and 22 were injured, including Rodriguez).

Rodriguez’ story has been detailed in a book “Rise: An Epic Story of a Soldier, His Dream, and a Promise Kept,” which he co-wrote with New York Times best-selling author Joe Layden.  Sony’s TriStar Productions has also secured the rights to make a movie based on the book that was released in October 2014. Rodriguez graduated from Clemson with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

Click any image below to learn about other recipients.