Army veteran cleared for Clemson Tigers

Aug. 2, 2012 at 12:06 PM

CLEMSON, S.C., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Daniel Rodriguez, a 24-year-old United States Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, was cleared by the NCAA to join the Clemson Tigers.

The Greenville (South Carolina) News reported Rodriguez will open fall football camp with his new teammates Friday.

Rodriguez was accepted to Clemson University in April to attend on the G.I. Bill. He had been waiting for clearance from the ACC and the NCAA to join the football team.

"I left one family in the military for another one here, and I can't be more happy to suit up in orange," Rodriguez said.

His plans for college football were upset by the death of his father, just four days after his high school graduation. Rodriguez switched gears and decided to join the military, where he served one and a half years in Iraq and four years in Afghanistan.

During his four-year tour, he fought in the Battle of Kamdesh on Oct. 3, 2009, and was one of the 22 U.S. soldiers wounded in the battle. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star Medal for valor.

In Brooke Point High School in Stafford, Va., Rodriguez lettered three years from 2003 to 2005 as a receiver, running back, cornerback, holder, quarterback and kick returner.

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