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Story of war hero-turned-Clemson WR to get movie treatment

Daniel Rodriguez AP

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)

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12 Responses to “Story of war hero-turned-Clemson WR to get movie treatment”
  1. dmvtransplant says: Feb 8, 2014 9:18 PM

    I’m holding out for the Eli Manning story/Movie

    Title – “In Big Brother’s Shadow”

    Tagline – “He wasn’t suppose to be a champion”

    You’ll all love the scene where Tiki Barber retires and screams while walking out the door “You’ll never win without me”.

    Bonus if they get Jay Cutler to play Eli

  2. scfan36 says: Feb 9, 2014 1:44 AM

    Is he still on Clemson’s team? I’m really not trying to be a troll or wet blanket, but on some level this feels like a player is being given the opportunity to profit off of his own likeness as a college player. Maybe that won’t be the case if the movie comes out after his playing days are over, though I expect he already was paid for the rights. I’m not at all against it and I think it’s a great story, but I’m very curious to see what the NCAA has to say about it.

  3. patriottony says: Feb 9, 2014 3:37 AM

    SCFAN…LOL you must be a gamecock fan,,YES,,He is. Sometimes,,just sometimes a coach is who he says he is. The difference between DABO and the “OBC” couldnt be more different. I’m not originally from SC, but have attended both Carolina (NOT USC Trojans) and Clemson games, the experience is night and day. Try Death Valley someday,,you might enjoy it…

  4. acieu says: Feb 9, 2014 4:09 AM

    Titled The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The player and war hero being the good, Clemson University football and the Acc being the bad, and anyone who plays Dabo the Clown the Ugly.

  5. keltictim says: Feb 9, 2014 8:46 AM

    Psst patriottony the difference between dabo and The OBC is stark. The OBC beats dabo. Big difference between a win and a loss.

  6. classyjacklambert says: Feb 9, 2014 9:19 AM

    Wow some really ballsy guys here taking cheap shots at a two time veteran because they don’t like the team he plays on. You really paint an unflattering portrayal of gamecock fans.

  7. planck16 says: Feb 9, 2014 9:38 AM

    First off, the NCAA should have no issue with this since it has zero impact on the field. Just like football players who sign MLB contracts it is separate or players working side jobs in the off season.

    Second, the kid plays on every special teams play, including returning punts on occasion. He is a stud athlete but undersized.

    Classyjacklambert nailed it on the head where this is not an opportunity to take shots.

    It will be a great book and movie.

  8. chinahand11 says: Feb 9, 2014 12:00 PM

    I got chills reading his story. Man, this kid has been through it and he came out on the other side a full-grown man. Daniel, you are an inspiration and I trust you will have a successful and happy life. Certainly you have the work ethic to achieve anything you wish. Good luck!

  9. willnit says: Feb 9, 2014 4:06 PM

    Good story. HIGH FIVE.

  10. scfan36 says: Feb 9, 2014 7:07 PM

    Patriottony, I don’t know what in my comment you’re even responding to.

    As for everyone else, I wasn’t trying to take any shots. It’s a tremendous story and I have enormous respect for the guy. My question was more trying to angle at the NCAA’s tendency to get involved in matters that they have no business being in. I hope that they have enough sense to let sleeping dogs lie. It just struck me as something that the NCAA could potentially see as a break of their amateur status rules if it makes reference to his time as a student-athlete. Again, I hope that there is nothing there and that everything can remain rosy. I was more looking for opinions as to how this instance fits into those rules. If the NCAA were to get involved I can only imagine how strong the backlash would be. Maybe it would be they’re undoing — I hope that clears things up a little bit.

  11. scfan36 says: Feb 9, 2014 7:08 PM

    Planck– that’s a great point and exactly the type of answer I was looking for.

  12. lamontjoe says: Feb 10, 2014 5:31 PM

    Rodriguez is the real stuff of heroes. He was infantry and not just a truck driver. Good for him. He deserves all that he gets. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

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