An inspirational, feel-good story about a college football player is about to reach a much, much bigger audience.
Various media outlets reported earlier this week that Sony’s TriStar Productions won what was described as a bidding war with Universal to secure the rights to the story of Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez. The movie will be based on the upcoming book “Rise: An Epic Story of a Soldier, His Dream, and a Promise Kept,” which is co-written by New York Times best-selling author Joe Layden and is scheduled to be released Oct. 7.
Variety writes that the book was “acquired for publication for mid-six figures by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.”
Rodriguez himself mentioned the movie deal very early this past week but it apparently got lost in the hustle and bustle of signing day:
For those who are unfamiliar with Rodriguez’s story, you should do yourself a favor and get up to speed.
After starring at Brooke Pointe High School in Virginia, Rodriguez appeared set to embark on a playing career at the collegiate level. Tragically, his father died of a heart attack four days after Rodriguez graduated, pushing the player away from realizing his dream of playing college football and into a career in the military.
Rodriguez joined the Army in 2007 and, one month after completing basic training, began serving a 15-month tour of duty in Iraq as part of an infantry unit. He served a second tour in Afghanistan, losing eight friends in a fierce battle with the Taliban in October of 2009. For his heroics during that battle, he was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Honorably discharged roughly six months later, Rodriguez began attending community college and resumed his effort to play football at the collegiate level. Rodriguez, the Greenville News wrote in a very nice feature on the veteran, “began training tirelessly and produced a video that served as his recruiting film.”
While Rodriguez had hoped to remain in his home state and play for Virginia or Virginia Tech, the tape caught the attention of Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney. After making two visits to the school, Rodriguez was offered the opportunity to become a walk-on for the Tigers in the summer of 2012 by Swinney, a walk-on himself at Alabama in 1989 before earning a scholarship.
Last November, Rodriguez scored his first career touchdown… on Military Appreciation Day. If ever there was ever a sports story that deserved the movie treatment, this is it.
(Tip O’ the Cap: orangeandwhite.com)