We’re breaking down Texas’ starting lineup, in alphabetical order on both sides.
Senior offensive guard, 6-5, 305
High school: Houston Cypress Creek
Signing class: 2014
Career games: 20
Career starts: 4
Who he was — before Texas
Rodriguez was a three-year starter at Cypress Creek. He chose Texas over 10 other offers in 2014. He was an underrated prospect in the class, ranking outside the top 1,000 on 247Sports. He was the 105th-ranked offensive tackle in the cycle. Rodriguez was originally committed to Colorado before he was talked into switching his commitment two days before signing day. He was a three-time all-district selection. He was the lowest-ranked player in Texas’ 2014 class.
Who Rodriguez has been here — so far
Rodriguez took a redshirt season in 2014 and then played sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2015. He played in seven games as a sophomore in spot duty and on special teams. But his production grew in 2016, when he started three of the 12 games he played in. The 2017 season was finished before it began for Rodriguez; he suffered a season-ending injury in preseason camp. He returned for the bowl win against Missouri and started at left tackle for Connor Williams, who skipped that game to prepare for the draft.
Who Texas needs him to be this season
It speaks volumes about a player’s toughness and desire when he returns from an injury even when he doesn’t need to. Rodriguez sustained an ankle injury in August 2017 and needed surgery. He missed the entire regular season. But the Horns needed every available body for the bowl game, so he returned and started at left tackle.
Now a senior, Rodriguez will start at right guard but can be counted on to play any position out there if asked. That’s really all offensive line coach Herb Hand can ask for.
Filling in the lineup
So far …
RG: Elijah Rodriguez has settled in on the right side of the line