Now that he is a year removed from tearing and having surgery on his right knee, Amari Rodgers has a better understanding of how his injury impacted his performance in 2019.
It is not that Rodgers had a bad year, he caught 30 passes for 426 yards and scored four touchdowns. But the Knoxville, Tenn., native had bigger goals and aspirations for 2019.
The fact the wide receiver played in 14 of Clemson’s 15 games last year was an accomplishment in and of itself. But Rodgers thought he could do more, something he really did not get a true grasp on until he got in camp and noticed how different of a player he is this year than he was last year.
“I can definitely say last year, I was not at full strength, but I was good enough to play,” he said. “I feel like the knee brace slowed me down a little bit, but you can’t make any excuses. I was still out there doing my job for my team.
“But I definitely feel like, right now, it is as strong as it has ever been.”
Though Rodgers had a couple of big games, he did not truly look like his old self until the Fiesta Bowl when he caught a slant pass over the middle on the Tigers’ game-winning drive, broke a tackle and raced down the sideline for a 28-yard gain. Clemson scored the winning touchdown on the next play.
Rodgers says he is running as fast as he has ever run. He says he is running in the high 4.4s or 4.5s in the 40-yard dash.
“I definitely feel like I am at my highest level that I have ever been,” Rodgers said. “I have put in the most work this off-season, with the time we had. I worked my tail off to get to get to where I am right now, as far as getting my knee right and getting strength back in there. Then, as far as working on my speed, I have worked on my speed the whole break.
“I am always working on my craft as a receiver, too. So, I definitely feel like I hit a knew level and I am going to straight up show it off this year.”
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