After deciding to stay home and be a Wildcat last weekend, Covington Catholic star, Willie Rodriguez, was nice enough to follow up on his decision and to detail it for the Cats Coverage readers. Growing up in this state, you’d have to think this was something he had envisioned as a possibility ever since he was just a little kid. Through sleepless nights and many, many battles labeled as practice, he made his dreams turn into reality.
“It feels great. Feels like a lot of hard work paying off and I will continue to work harder to achieve my goals,” said the tight end out of Taylor Mill, Kentucky.
Deciding to stay home and play collegiate football over his other considerable offers such as Virginia Tech, Purdue, Tennessee, South Carolina, and dozens of others, he said the coaching staff in Lexington just felt like… home. “Really, just the staff made it feel like home for me and I felt very comfortable with them and how they will use me.” With the program becoming more pass-centric in their pro-style offense under Liam Coen, his opportunity can be much more than his position once was capped at, not too long ago. The offense is no longer running back heavy and that’s obviously way more intriguing for any pass catcher to come play in. It's switched to prioritizing throwing the short (and long occasionally) ball to its receivers while still sprinkling in the run game, not losing sight of its core roots.
You could also probably add the family ties he has to the program that helped guide his decision. Willie says he had a cousin who played for Kentucky growing up, so he found himself at a lot of the home games - I’m assuming, dressed in blue like the rest of us. “I grew up around a ton of die hard Kentucky fans like my family.” My biggest takeaway from that statement is that the staff will not once have to explain to him about the passion of this fanbase, because one, he already knows, but two, he is a part of the fanbase. That passion has been instilled into him since the day he first threw pads on.
In terms of which Wildcats he already has strong friendships with, he stopped himself after naming quite a few players you know very well. Here’s the list that I’m sure goes way beyond just these names. He listed off Josh Kattus, Ty Bryant, Deone Walker, Deuce Hogan, and Cole Lanter as future teammates that he already has “great relationships” with.
As he preps for a special senior year, I wanted to see what exactly the Big Blue Nation can know about him as we await his arrival. “I’m ready to work and make this class special. I’m coming in day 1 to compete and bring it,” said Rodriguez.
Keeping a Kentucky boy home to play for the team he’s grown up so close to is a match made in Heaven. It’s like beer and a summer camp fire. It just makes sense. I’m super excited that this state produces such great talent now and even more, that they can keep it here. The 2024 recruiting class now sits at No. 52 in the country according to 247Sports with the addition of Willie Rodriguez. He becomes the tenth commitment in the class.