Rodney Kinlaw is a former professional running back from Goose Creek, South Carolina. Rodney has over 20 years of experience being involved with and playing football. Rodney’s collegiate years were spent under legendary coach Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history. Rodney played professional football in the NFL, CFL, & GFL, where he learned the importance of perseverance, willpower, and never giving up on your goals. He finished his collegiate career as the 11th running back in Penn State history to reach 1,000 yards in a season with 1,329 yards rushing and holds the 10th spot on Penn State’s single-season rushing record list. Football is ingrained in Rodney’s family. His father, Rodney Sr., was a running back at South Carolina State University in the mid-’80s. Rodney’s Uncle is former Penn State All-American Courtney Brown, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2000 NFL Draft. Rodney’s brother Caleb Kinlaw also played running back at the University of South Carolina and the University of Wisconsin.
Rodney holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and a minor in Sociology from the Pennsylvania State University. He is currently a Talent Acquisition leader helping companies build high-performing teams and processes. Rodney lives with his wife and daughter in Grayson, GA.
When preparation meets opportunity
Growing up, I’ve never been vulnerable or spoken much about my personal or football life. I am posting this for that player in his Senior year that’s been dreaming of starting and trying to keep the faith. This picture was a manifestation in my mind before my senior season at Penn State. Before that season, I hadn’t seen significant playing time outside of special teams. After tearing my ACL as a Freshman, I had an uphill battle to play running back after being out a year and having two other running backs in my class performing well. I wrote down my goals and carried them in my wallet. It said that I was going to win the Bowl game MVP, rush for over 1k yds, go to the combine, run the fastest 40 yd dash ever, and get drafted by the Detroit Lions (Barry Sanders #20); the reason I changed to #20, my favorite player. Half of my goals came true. Due to events, I was named the starter in the 5th game of the season. Before starting, I got a few carries but mostly reps to give the starter a break. I finished my Senior season as the 10th running back on Penn State’s single-season rushing record list with 1,329 yds. I was also named MVP of the Alamo bowl with 143 yds. I didn’t get drafted by the Lions, but I did get invited to Rookie Camp. They drafted Kevin Smith from the University of Central Florida in the 3rd round. Kevin was just 62 yds shy of breaking Barry’s college rushing record. I didn’t run the fastest 40 yd dash or get invited to the combine. However, I was proud of every accomplishment. They were special to me because perseverance and patience finally paid off. Keep grinding, and never give up!