SOUTHINGTON — Dylan Rodriguez is the definition of perseverance. The Southington football player endured several injuries and a cancelled senior season during his high school career.
All the same, he’s expecting to play in college. Rodriguez, a wide receiver, is heading to Division III Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.
“It means a lot,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been playing football since I was 5. I love football more than anything, really. On the field, I always give my all. Off the field, too, in the weight room and the film room. I love the game.”
The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder was in the Southington football program for all four years. He missed much of his sophomore and junior campaigns with two concussions.
“I spent a lot of time in physical therapy and I feel that reflects well on my character to come back from those,” he said.
Rodriguez played in Southington’s three independent football contests last fall and scored a touchdown. He played the first half of the first game as a receiver before being slowed by a knee injury. That ailment put him on defense only in the final two games.
At Endicott, Rodriguez will join former Southington captain Johnny Carreiro. The two are close friends.
“Going into my senior year, I had no schools looking at me,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to play college football and I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t going to happen due to COVID affecting the season. I put my all into those three independent games.”
Southington coach Mike Drury said Rodriguez had a great senior year in the face of many challenges.
“He’s very instinctive, understands the game well and plays fast,” Drury said. “As a wide receiver, he was a great route runner (who) understood the details of creating separation and leverage. On defense, he played safety and was able to diagnose the offense quickly and be in the right spot. He is also a very good punt returner and dynamic with the ball.
“We are proud of him,” Drury added. “He brought the effort this year. He’s a great young man and he’s going to translate well to the next level.”
Endicott was looking at other Blue Knights this fall. Rodriguez sent the school his film and went for a visit around Thanksgiving. He officially committed to the school last week.
Rodriguez, the son of Jill and Dave Rodriguez, will study entrepreneurship in college.
Rodriguez said it was a trying year for Connecticut high school football players.
“It was tough from the spring all the way through the summer,” Rodriguez said. “In the summer we would lift and then get shut down for two weeks. We had no idea if we were going to play or not.
“It would have been nice to see what this team could have done in a 10-game season,” he added. “Being in this program has been amazing and has changed my life. I learned about challenges and how to deal with adversity. This team has taught us about life.”