The Clemson Tigers have hit a bump in their road to defending their national title as wide receiver Amari Rodgers has been diagnosed with a torn ACL, per Matt Fortuna of The Athletic.
Earlier Tuesday, Fortuna relayed that Clemson feared Rodgers tore his ACL during practice Monday. Rodgers' MRI on Tuesday confirmed those fears.
Rodgers caught two balls for 30 yards, including a 26-yard reception, in Clemson's 44-16 national championship victory over Alabama. In 15 games as a sophomore last season, Rodgers racked up 55 catches for 575 yards and four touchdowns as well as 39 returns for 299 yards and a touchdown.
His sophomore season was a vast improvement over just 19 catches for 123 yards and no touchdowns across 12 games in 2017.
Following news of his injury, Rodgers tweeted: "God gives his toughest soldiers the toughest tasks.. I'll be back better than ever, believe that." Justyn Ross, a Clemson sophomore wideout, also took to Twitter:
Clemson has been dubbed Wide Receiver U behind the three-pronged attack of Rodgers, Ross and junior Tee Higgins. That nickname dates back to when DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans) and Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs) were dominating in Death Valley.
On the heels of quarterback Trevor Lawrence's breakout freshman season, expectations are mountainous for him and this receiving corps.
While Higgins and Ross became the highlight reels throughout Clemson's College Football Playoff run, Rodgers provides an entirely different skill set for this offense that is just as crucial.
Hunter Renfrow's departure for the NFL draft made him next in line as the primary slot receiver at 5'10" and 215 pounds to balance out Higgins and Ross, who are both 6'4".
Rodgers' production will undoubtedly be missed. However, Clemson doesn't have the Wide Receiver U reputation for nothing. On Monday night, according to Larry Williams of Rivals' Tiger Illustrated, head coach Dabo Swinney dubbed receivers Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson "as ready as any freshmen we've had come through here."
Once Rodgers fully recovers, this group will be even more dangerous than before.