Older players bring real-life experiences to ACC

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Older players who have taken different routes to college football have become mentors in Atlantic Coast Conference locker rooms that are filled with teenagers who have known only football.

The value of players around the ACC like Clemson's Daniel Rodriguez and North Carolina's Sylvester Williams is more than just what they do on the field.

Rodriguez served in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Williams worked in a factory after graduating from high school before deciding to give college football a try.

North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien says players like those are invaluable because they "understand the real-life experiences" and can lead their teammates whether they start or play only sparingly.

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