Coming out of Knoxville Catholic High School in Tennessee as a four-star recruit back in 2017, there was one main reason why Amari Rodgers decided to take his talents to Clemson and play for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers.
“I went to Clemson because I wanted to win, plain and simple,” the wide receiver said to reporters after being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday. “That’s really what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to a program that I knew was a winning program and that I knew I was going to be coached and turn into the player that I knew I could be.
“And going there with Coach Swinney, him being a receivers coach at heart, I knew I would be pushed to be a great receiver every single day by him. And Coach (Tyler) Grisham, my last year, did a great job coaching me up too. So, I knew I was going to be coached by the best of the best and play against the best of the best. So, that’s why I went there.”
Rodgers got what he wished for at Clemson, winning ACC titles in each of his four seasons from 2017-20 and appearing in the College Football Playoff all four years while helping the Tigers to a national championship victory over Alabama in 2018. The Knoxville native left Clemson ranked sixth in school history in career receptions, 12th in career receiving yards and tied for 14th in career receiving touchdowns, as well as ninth in career punt return yards.
Thanks to his time at Clemson, and all the success he had playing on the biggest stages in college football, Rodgers is confident he is ready for the NFL and will be able to take his winning mindset to the Packers.
“It was an amazing ride,” Rodgers said of his Clemson career. “Just being able to compete against the best of the best every single day in practice and going out there and playing at a high level every Saturday, I feel like it just set me up for right now. And the winning, too, I feel like that just taught me how to be successful on and off the field and how to approach each week like a pro and prepare in a way as to win. And that’s really what Coach Swinney did. He told us every single week, prepare the same, as if it’s like for the national championship. So, I feel like I’m going to carry that onto the next level and just prepare every single week like it’s the Super Bowl.”
Green Bay gave up a fourth-round pick to the Tennessee Titans to trade up seven spots in the third round and grab Rodgers with the 85th overall pick.
The versatile Rodgers, who became only the fifth Clemson player since 2000 to record touchdowns by rush, reception and punt return in a career, believes he can be a “gadget guy” that the Packers can get the ball to in a variety of different ways.
“I just see myself as one of those guys that can line up at any position – on the outside, on the inside, in the backfield sometimes – and just one of those guys that whenever I get the ball in my hands, I’m confident I’m going to make a play,” he said. “So, I’m just looking forward to them using me whatever way to help the team win.”
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