The Union Recorder

Local Sports

October 11, 2012

Older players bring real-life experiences to ACC

(Continued)

RALEIGH, N.C. —

Boston College reserve quarterback Dave Shinskie, 28, spent seven seasons playing minor-league baseball. He started as a 25-year-old freshman and led the Eagles to eight wins, but lost his job the following year to current starter Chase Rettig.

"That probably wouldn't sit well with a lot of people, but Dave is a great teammate and a great asset to our program," BC coach Frank Spaziani said. "We're very fortunate that he contributed to those wins and he's still helping to contribute in a different way. ... I attribute that to some of his maturity and what he's been through."

Rodriguez, 24, spent 18 months in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan, where he was shot in the shoulder and wounded by shrapnel in a battle in October 2009.

Rodriguez, who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, had promised a friend who was killed in the attack that he would find a way to play college football if he made it home. He enrolled in a community college, then filmed his workout regimen in a video posted on YouTube that generated inquiries from about 50 schools — including Clemson.

"I wasn't, obviously, brought here on my five-star capabilities," Rodriguez said. "But what I've been through as a man and what I can relate and pass to these guys that are younger than I, having my experience and the hardships I've gone through and overcome, it's definitely something that the guys look up to me for."

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Rodriguez, who has one catch and has played primarily on special teams for the reigning ACC champions, is "inspirational."

"He's been a sergeant of 20 or 40 men in real life and now he's in the locker room with a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old guys who don't really have life figured out yet," Swinney said.

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