The time of his life Amari Rodgers has looked forward to for a long time is about to begin.
The former four-star wide receiver, along with Clemson’s other signees in the class of 2017 (with the exception of the four early enrollees), will report to Clemson on Sunday to start their careers as Tigers.
Rodgers’ mother, sister, younger brother and grandmother will accompany him to Clemson for the move-in day.
“I’m super excited,” Rodgers told The Clemson Insider. “It’s the biggest move of my life thus far, so I’m excited for the opportunities that I have in my hands, and hopefully I’ll take advantage of it.”
Rodgers, an Under Armour All-American and two-time Mr. Football Award winner in the state of Tennessee, committed to Clemson in February 2016.
The native of Knoxville amassed 3,498 receiving yards and 47 touchdowns during his prolific career at Knoxville Catholic. As a senior, he recorded 1,238 yards and 18 scores while averaging 31 yards per reception.
Asked what he has been doing to prepare for Clemson, Rodgers responded simply: “Just grinding.”
“Literally that’s all I’m doing is just preparing for college,” he said. “Every day, I’m doing something productive for my game so that when I get there I’m prepared.
“This is a huge step for me. I’ve never been in this situation before, so I’m taking advice from everybody that I can because when I get there it will be just me. I won’t have my parents, I won’t have any siblings, it will be just me. It’s all on me, so I have to make good decisions and go out and do what I need to do here.”
Rodgers will be rooming with close friend, fellow Tennessee native and former five-star wide receiver Tee Higgins.
“It’s going to be great, building chemistry and being in the same position,” Rodgers said of having Higgins as a roommate. “It’s going to help learning the playbook because we can study together. And we’re also from the same city, so it’s going to help, too, just knowing we come from the same spot and we’re putting on for our city. We have a lot of weight on our shoulders, so hopefully we can go in and show out and represent our hometown.”
Personally, Rodgers’ primary goal for his freshman year is to assume a role on the team in which he can best help Clemson win.
“If it’s being second string coming in or rotating in (with the receivers) or doing special teams or doing something, I just want to help the team win games,” he said. “If I have a chance to play a lot, I hope to be a freshman All-American or All-ACC. I’m not setting my bar too high right now because I’m a freshman, but if I’m blessed enough to have that opportunity, I’m going to make the best out of it.”
Joining the Clemson football team on campus is even sweeter for Rodgers with the Tigers coming off of a national title.
He knows it will be a challenge, and the former national top-100 prospect is ready to get after it.
“Going in as the defending national champs, that makes it even better but it also makes it harder because you have a lot of shoes to fill,” Rodgers said. “So, we have to go in there and grind with our hair on fire and hopefully we get good results.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge. I love challenges.”