On the 'Rise' - book release set, Daniel Rodriguez focused on senior season

The Clemson Sports Blog

Daniel Rodriguez's autobiography 'Rise' will be released this fall

Daniel Rodriguez's autobiography 'Rise' will be released this fall

On October 7, life is likely to change once again for Daniel Rodriguez.

It's the day that his autobiography - 'Rise: A Soldier, A Dream, and a Promise Kept' - will be released by publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In the months ahead, Rodriguez will become a wanted man - wanted for interviews, book tours, speaking engagements, autograph sessions.

But for a while, all that will have to wait.

Four days later, on October 11, Louisville visits Death Valley for one of the ACC's marquee mid-season matchups, and Rodriguez has every intention of being a part of Clemson's winning formula.

Since he arrived on campus two years ago to national attention, Rodriguez - winner of Purple Heart and Bronze Medal as a sergeant in the United States Army - has been striving to be more than a feel-good story. He's earned the respect of his teammates, is considered to be part of the Tigers' leadership core, and has played his roles well as a special teams regular and backup wide receiver.

As he heads into what promises to be an eventful fall, he's clearly focused not on the future - which will include a major motion picture re-telling of his story - but on his present as a Clemson football player.

“I want to be a football player," Rodriguez told Bleacher Report columnist Greg Wallace recently. "That's what I want to do. For me, every day I work out, every day I go to become a better football player, a better teammate. Not just a story...

"I think I have made a mark. I think I did open some eyes, having more skill than (coaches) probably thought I had. I think I am a playmaker. I think I have the ability to contribute on this team, down in and down out."

Meanwhile, the promotional push for 'Rise' is already in full swing.

The hardback version book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, among others, and Kindle and Nook versions will also be offered. Pre-order is also offered directly from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In its promo, Amazon describes the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Rodriguez as "an unlikely recruit for the gridiron."

"But on the battlefield, under the daily rain of sniper fire, he made a promise to his best friend," wrote the editors. "'When I get out of this (expletive), I’m going to play college football.'

"Daniel had joined the army just weeks after graduating from high school, having recently suffered a devastating loss. At age nineteen he had no idea what war really was; he just wanted to get out of town. Almost immediately, he was deployed to Iraq (and would later serve in Afghanistan). And he grew up fast — stopped sleeping, started smoking. Killing became second nature. He fought in the infamous Battle of Kamdesh and for his bravery he was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. But his best friend was not so lucky.

"Against all odds, Daniel returned home — broken, but still alive. Stuck in the clutches of PTSD, Daniel remembered that fateful promise to his friend and knew he had to make good on it. He embarked on a grueling training regimen and when he posted a video of his efforts, it went viral overnight. By some mix of grit, determination, and the power of the Internet, he earned a spot on the Clemson University football team.

"A powerfully delivered narrative of a young soldier, his unlikely dream, and how he found his way out of darkness, Rise is inspiring, quintessentially American, and will resonate with anyone who has ever fought for what they what they wanted."

Rodriguez co-wrote the book with author Joe Layden, who previously worked with Sergeant Sal Giunta - the first Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam war - and Ace Frehley - the KISS guitarist - on their life stories.

Now a Clemson senior, Rodriguez is focused on his final go-round as a Tiger.

He told Bleacher Report that versatility is his niche

“Special teams, I know every single receiver position, the coaches can put me in any position at receiver," said Rodriguez. “For me, it’s using what I have to my advantage. That’s my knowledge of the game, my quickness, just to have any edge I can. Just to make my mark on special teams, it’s worth it.

"Anytime I can go on the field, I’ll go on the field and give it my all. Wherever they want me, I’ll go.”

He's proven that before.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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