North’s Rodriguez headed for Catawba

By Cory Smith - csmith@mtairynews.com
Nic Rodriguez poses with family and coaches before signing his National Letter of Intent Monday afternoon. - Cory Smith | The News
Nic Rodriguez was a pivotal part of the record-setting 2017-2018 Greyhounds that won the WPAC for the first time in almost two decades. - Cory Smith | The News
Nic Rodriguez (5) escapes from a block and goes after a Walkertown running back in a game from the 2017 season. Rodriguez was one of the Greyhounds’ top defenders in a record-setting 10-win season that included the school’s first conference title since 2000. - John Cate | The News

“Nic’s one of those kids that we never had a doubt that he was going to live, eat, sleep, and breathe football.”

North Surry defensive coordinator Jordon Tucker had no trouble praising North Surry’s most recent college signee, Nic Rodriguez.

“He’s special to me because there are few kids that had it as hard as him from a coach,” Tucker said. “I expected a lot of him. Going into games, I pretty much expected him to know everything I knew.”

Rodriguez’s hard work paid off when he signed his National Letter of Intent to play college football with Catawba College in the fall. Nic joined the Greyhounds four years ago, but the genesis of his journey with head coach Danny Lyons came long before high school.

Lyons spoke of a free camp held in Flat Rock held by the school six years ago. Rodriguez was one of only two players to take part in the camp. Lyons joked that he got to play every position that day.

Even back then, Lyons said there was something different about Nic. He was football savvy beyond his years and could do a little bit of everything.

“He’s a kid that took every ounce of what God gave him and maximized it, at least in his high school career,” Lyons said. “My hope and prayer for him is that he maximizes it in his college career.”

“That’s not just on the football field,” Lyons continued. “That’s in the classroom and that’s doing things right off the field.”

Rodriguez found his footing with the Hounds as a sophomore. A growth spurt and subsequent time spent in the weight room led to more playing time on North Surry’s defense. Between his sophomore and junior years, Tucker said something just clicked with Rodriguez. He just got better and better on his way to becoming a team leader.

“Every time we got harder on Nic, he got better,” Tucker said. “If I asked him to do anything, whether for me, the team, or himself, he always did it. You don’t get to coach a lot of kids like that.”

The rest of the Western Piedmont 2A Athletic Conference soon found out what the coaches already knew: Nic Rodriguez was a big-time player.

Rodriguez finished with more than 230 tackles between his junior and senior years. He finished second in total tackles on the Greyhounds both years while leading the team in assisted tackles.

In 2016, Rodriguez finished one tackle behind the team’s leading tackler, Casey Hull, and just two tackles behind the top tackler in the conference. Rodriguez finished fourth in the conference in tackles as a senior, just six behind team leader Avery Simmons.

Tucker called Rodriguez’s tackle count, “unbelievable.” Nic finished runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in the WPAC.

When reminiscing of his time as a Greyhound, Rodriguez spoke more about his time playing with his teammates rather than his individual accomplishments.

“It was great being out there with all my family members and playing ball, just having fun,” Rodriguez said.

As for the future, Rodriguez is more than ready to suit up for the Indians.

“[I’m looking forward to] getting back out on the field,” Rodriguez said. “It feels like home playing out there.”

Nic Rodriguez poses with family and coaches before signing his National Letter of Intent Monday afternoon.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_DSC_0794.jpgNic Rodriguez poses with family and coaches before signing his National Letter of Intent Monday afternoon. Cory Smith | The News

Nic Rodriguez was a pivotal part of the record-setting 2017-2018 Greyhounds that won the WPAC for the first time in almost two decades.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_DSC_0812a.jpgNic Rodriguez was a pivotal part of the record-setting 2017-2018 Greyhounds that won the WPAC for the first time in almost two decades. Cory Smith | The News

Nic Rodriguez (5) escapes from a block and goes after a Walkertown running back in a game from the 2017 season. Rodriguez was one of the Greyhounds’ top defenders in a record-setting 10-win season that included the school’s first conference title since 2000.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_DSC_0543.jpgNic Rodriguez (5) escapes from a block and goes after a Walkertown running back in a game from the 2017 season. Rodriguez was one of the Greyhounds’ top defenders in a record-setting 10-win season that included the school’s first conference title since 2000. John Cate | The News
Linebacker Nic Rodriguez signed his National Letter of Intent to Catawba College Monday

By Cory Smith

csmith@mtairynews.com

Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith

Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith