If you had told Amari Rodgers four years ago that he would do what he did on Wednesday, sign his national letter of intent to play football at Clemson, he might not have believed it.
But after amassing nearly 3,500 receiving yards and 50 touchdowns during his high school career at Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic High, he put ink to paper on signing day, officially became a Tiger and in the process achieved a goal many can only dream of.
“It feels great. It just shows me that all the hard work up until now has finally paid off,” Rodgers told The Clemson Insider. “It shows that I’m growing up because my freshman year I didn’t even think I would be at this level, so it shows how far I’ve come and that it’s just the beginning.”
One of two receivers from the state of Tennessee in Clemson’s 2017 signing class along with Oak Ridge’s Tee Higgins, Rodgers left his mark at Knoxville Catholic with a dynamite career.
The four-star receiver, top-100 prospect by ESPN and 2016 Under Armour All-American was named Mr. Football at the 4A level in Tennessee each of the past two years. As a senior, he recorded 40 catches for 1,238 yards (31 yards per catch) and 18 scores while displaying his big-play ability by catching 10 passes of 50 yards or more. He had at least 100 yards receiving in seven games and at least 200 in two.
As a junior, Rodgers caught 61 passes for 1,570 yards and 23 touchdowns, adding three scores on rushes, two on punt returns, two on kickoff returns and one on an interception. A year earlier, he accounted for 1,132 yards and 15 touchdowns receiving and rushing combined as he led the team in rushing.
Rodgers is a tireless competitor, and he plans to keep doing what got him to this point when he gets to Clemson.
“When I get there, competing and hopefully getting in and getting a lot of playing time,” Rodgers said of what he is most excited about. “That’s what I like to do. I’m a competitor because it only makes you better. So, that’s really what I’m looking forward to, just getting there, competing and growing as a man and a player.”
Rodgers, the son of Southern Cal offensive coordinator Tee Martin, committed to Clemson on Valentine’s Day 2016 after de-committing from Southern Cal a couple of months earlier.
He said Clemson fans have welcomed him with open arms since, and so he’s excited to hopefully put on a good show for them in the future.
“Ever since I committed, I’ve gotten nothing but love from all the Clemson fans, and I love it,” Rodgers said. “We have the best fans in the country. I can’t wait to play in front of them and for them to be cheering me on.”
With his recruitment finalized, Rodgers is focused on preparing for what’s to come after coming this far already.
“I’m relieved because I can just focus on what’s ahead of me,” he said of wrapping up his recruiting process. “I can focus on getting my body right before I get there and getting mentally prepared before I get there, too. So, I’m just going to finish out my senior school year strong and get ready to get there and get ready to work.”