Amari Rodgers came into last season with a lot of hype as he and Tee Higgins were poised to be the next Mike Williams and Artavis Scott in the Clemson wide receiver corps.
With his first season behind him, Rodgers has been working this spring to improve his game and really step in as the starter at the field position.
With a great work ethic and being praised as mature beyond his year, this spring has been a good one for Rodgers so far. His position coach, co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, has praised him on multiple occasions, but Rodgers knows there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“I think we need to work on staying in shape as a group” the rising sophomore said. “You know we’ve been emphasizing tempo this offseason so we gotta get right condition wise and be able to go longer.”
With Clemson being considered “Wide Receiver U”, there is always a lot of talent of at receiver. With talented players like Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud leaving early for the NFL, young guys like Rodgers are left to step up and bring the group together. Even with the losses there are still older leaders among the group.
“We always have a veteran, this year it’s Hunter Renfrow and Trevion Thompson,” Rodgers said. “We just feed off their energy. They’re our leaders now and if they make big plays we all just feed off of that. Even as a group, if one person makes a big play, the rest of us are going to feed off of that.
“We just feed off of each other and ask each other for advice. (Derion Kendrick) asks me for advice all the time so I just give it to him so he can go play great.”
With the group working to continually become a closer, tight-knit group, they also have deep goals when it comes to performing on the field.
“As a receiving core you know just stay consistent,” said the young receiver. “Last year, I feel like we were kind of on a roller coaster and this year just stay consistent, win, finish all the places. That’s what Coach Scott emphasizes. Finish every play catch every ball that comes our way.”
One exciting thing for Rodgers this spring is his participation as a special teams player. With McCloud gone, Rodgers is being given opportunities to step in as a regular punt return man for the team.
“In high school that was my favorite spot, punt return,” Rodgers said. “Now that I have a chance to take over that position, it means a lot to me. I’m gonna try and hold it down and I’ll probably take some to the house this year. God blessed me with that and I’m going to take full advantage.”
Heading into his sophomore season Rodgers looks poised to take the next step and make a big impact for the Tigers.