Amari Rodgers and the Clemson football team have been through a lot over the last week.
After preparing for an away clash with rival Florida State, the game ended up being cancelled due to a positive COVID result and some disagreements between the schools’ medical staffs. Regardless of right or wrong, it was just another week added to quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s now five week absence from football.
Considered one of the best players in the nation, his absence hasn’t been detrimental to Rodgers and the Tigers’ season, but it may have been for Lawrence’s Heisman Trophy chances. Once the clear favorite in the race for the prestigious award, Lawrence has plummeted to fourth with the likes of Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Kyle Trask climbing ahead of him.
“I wouldn’t say it is or isn’t fair,” Rodgers said. “We as a team know what Trevor can do and I know the country knows what he can do. Just because he’s missed a couple of games that doesn’t mean he’s not good anymore.
“I have faith in my brother. We have faith in him and I know he’s just going to go out there and ball out. He’s gonna go out there and continue to do what he does.”
As one of the most veteran players on the Clemson roster and in the receiving room, Rodgers has gone through a lot with Lawrence being there from the beginning of his career.
Now a senior not only has Rodgers developed into the team’s number one receiver but arguably the All-American quarterback’s most consistent target in his Clemson career.
“We’ve been doing this for three years now, since my sophomore year and his freshman,” he said. “We’ve been grinding building that chemistry and that trust, that’s where trust comes from is just chemistry. Doing things over and over again in practice and then connecting in games. I feel like he just trusts me because he knows. I tell him if you throw it my way you know I’m gonna be trying to make a play for you. He trusts that and I trust him.”
Having a generational quarterback under center, the Tigers have still found themselves facing stacked boxes across from them consistently throughout the year. With arguably the best running back in the country Travis Etienne adding to the most dangerous backfield in the country, many teams have opted to go all in on stopping the run while testing Clemson to beat them downfield.
Facing Pittsburgh this upcoming week, it is something to expect as they are already well known for stacking the box. The Tigers are prepared though, as Rodgers and the receivers have built a strong bond with their quarterback.
“Pitt’s defensive scheme is definitely to stop the run,” said Rodgers. “There’s going to be a lot of one-on-one matchups on the sides, so that’s a challenge for us receivers to go out there and win our matchups. We’ve been doing that all year I feel. We need to go out there, compete and make plays for Trevor. Like you said, he trusts us and you know we trust him so we just have to go out there and have a good week of practice and ball out.”
Leading the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, it is safe to assume Rodgers will continue to do his part. The Tigers will face Pitt at Death Valley for senior day.