In February, Rivals national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell raved about offensive tackle Na’Ty Rodgers, who was on his way to South Carolina.
Farrell said toughness is one of the most challenging things for college offensive line coaches to teach young players. Often, either you have it, or you don’t. And Farrell knew Rodgers had it when he watched him get knocked down and his lip bloodied at a camp, only to come back and play even angrier.
“He’s a kid they don’t really have to worry about, the first time he gets hit, going home and crying,” Farrell said.
During Friday night’s first practice, Rodgers did not shrink away. Late in the practice, he exchanged punches with third-year sophomore defensive tackle Deon Green. Again, this was the first time Rodgers had ever participated in an official college football practice, and he was out there throwing blows at a teammate’s face.