Medal of Honor Bowl spotlight on decorated war heroes, on and off field

Medal of Honor Bowl spotlight on decorated war heroes, on and off field

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - For the second straight year, the Lowcountry will play host to nearly a hundred college football players from across the country as part of a weeklong celebration of sports and military service.

The Medal of Honor Bowl, which kicks off at 2:30 Saturday afternoon at Johnson Hagood Stadium, features a collection of players from the NCAA's FBS conferences such as the SEC, Big 12, ACC, BIG 10 and PAC 12.

Players will showcase their skills before the watchful eyes of more than 130 NFL Scouts, five league General Managers, and representatives from the Canadien Football League.

This year, among the athletes competing Saturday, are two men with experience both on the football field, and on the battle field.

Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez, who walked-on to the team in 2012, served in the Army from 2006-2010, with more than half that time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2009, he was involved in the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan, where 22 Americans were injured, and eight others lost their lives.

Rodriguez earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device for his heroic acts.

He's not alone.

Nate Boyer, Rodriquez's all-star teammate, also earned the military award for bravery, as a fellow recipient of the Bronze Star Medal.

Boyer, a long snapper from the University of Texas, served in the Army on the Green Beret Special Forces Unit, and continues to serve today.

"I love my country. I love this game. It's an honor to be able to serve both of them," Boyer said.

"In combat, obviously, you're depending on the man on your left and right and your fighting for them.  It's the same thing on the football field."

Bowl Chairman Tom McQueeney said he hopes to have both men serve as captains during Saturday's game.

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