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Oklahoma State Football

Rodriguez Explains Wrestling Advantage on the Football Field to Detroit Reporters

May 17, 2022

STILLWATER – More on former Oklahoma State Cowboys linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez as the rookies for the Lions blend in and join the veterans for the OTAs (offseason team activities). Rodriguez made a splash last weekend in the Lions rookie minicamp as head coach Dan Campbell told the media that Rodriguez “certainly looked the part.”

He also got the question right out of the gate on being from the same school as Lions all-time great running back and Oklahoma State Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders. Rodriguez was asked if he had thought about Sanders’ legacy as he was drafted and joining the Lions?

Detroit Lions
Rodriguez gets .fitted for his Detroit Lions helmet

“That’s his legacy and I’m coming here and just trying to do it the Oklahoma State way like he did and be successful like him,” Rodriguez said looking a little uncomfortable. “He put the work in and now it’s up to me to put the work in like he did.”

Now, as Rodriguez showed off his strength and speed to get to plays, as well as ability to drop in coverage and spot and pick up a “wheel” route, he was also asked about his wrestling career in high school at Wagoner. He corrected the reporters and told them he was a two-time state champion and not a three-time All State wrestler. He also told them he lost in the state tournament as a sophomore at 152 pounds but used it as motivation the next two years. He weighed 182-pounds as a junior and 195 as a senior.

He was asked how that impacted his football, just what wrestling skills and instincts do for him as a linebacker.

Jeff Nguyen/Detroit Lions
Rodriguez in rookie minicamp.

“For sure working angles,” Rodriguez said. “I’m able to see different angles and work by, I get skinny where others can’t. one of those things is I’ve been in a lot of positions in wrestling, so it is natural for me to do use my instincts and slip through things. I’m able to weave through the smoke and I pull my trigger (tackle) and if I can slip through a lineman underneath then I can get all the way (in the backfield).”

As Zach Lancaster pointed out this weekend, we will all be able to follow Malcolm Rodriguez’ path to making the Lions and playing in the NFL as HBO has chosen Detroit to be the featured team for the series Hard Knocks this summer.

Discussion from...

Rodriguez Explains Wrestling Advantage on the Football Field to Detroit Reporters

461 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Darth Vader
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Might just be my opinion but Malcolm was the best tackler on the team all four years!

Darth Vader
How long do you want to ignore this user?
He's about as good of a tackler as someone can be. Certainly one of the best tacklers we've ever had.
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