Chris Rodriguez Jr. was one of the most eye-popping players to watch in a Kentucky Wildcats uniform. He finished his career with the Cats third on the all-time rushing list and was eventually a sixth-round pick by the Washington Commanders.
Rodriguez had a strong preseason, but with players like Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson ahead of him on the depth chart, his touches had been infrequent up until this point of the season.
However, things have changed in recent weeks. With Robinson now out due to injury, it is Rodriguez’s time to shine.
Rodriguez has seen at least four carries in five straight games and has had a yards-per-carry average of over five in three of them. He has seen double-digit carries in his last two and exploded in a 30-28 loss to New York in Week 16 action. Rodriguez ended the game with 10 carries for 58 yards and two touchdowns, including a 16-yard long run.
How did the Commanders’ running backs coach get Rodriguez motivated for the game? Well, running backs coach Randy Jordan showed Rodriguez highlights from his Kentucky days.
“The big thing is just becoming comfortable,” Rodriguez said to report Donna Hopkins after the game via Commanders Country. “When I watched myself play here, it just felt like I was stiff. [Running backs coach Randy Jordan] will pull up Kentucky highlights for me and be like, ‘Yo, this is who you are. You’re here for a reason.’”
Let’s hope Rodriguez continues to make the most of this opportunity.