Rogers making his mark at UA Game
Future Dawg shows the size, speed and strength needed to make instant impact at UGA
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If Georgia wide receiver commit Da'Rick Rogers (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) continues to play like he did this season and during the first two practices for Saturday's Under Armour All-American Game, the Bulldogs may have a player that can complement All-American A.J. Green in the wide receiver corps.
"He kind of got the best of me," said Ryan Ayers (Douglasville, Ga./South Paulding), who had the unenviable task of guarding Rogers on Wednesday. "He's improved a lot. I actually went against him this past summer during seven-on-seven and stuff, and he's improved his game a lot. He's doing real good right now. His speed is better. His routes are good. He's just improved."
Ayers wasn't the only corner that fell victim to Rogers on Wednesday. Five-star Florida State commit Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas) and four-star Florida commit Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) both struggled at times against the 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver.
Ayers, who is committed to Georgia Tech, said the pair have talked about the Jackets and Dawgs, in-state rivals.
"I think the first day went well," Rogers said. "I've gotten better because I've been working really hard in the weight room. I've also really been focusing on my route running as well. That really did come in handy. I have really just been focusing on what the coaches have been telling me today.
"Everybody is just out here to have fun. They are out here to compete, too, but to have fun is the main thing."
Rogers continued his dominance in the early stages of the second practice. He was difficult for the defensive backs to stop in one-on-one drills and caught the eye of several coaches in attendance who were blown away by how smooth of an athlete he is, as well as for his combination of speed and size.
"I try to get my strength up to where guys that are already in college, like the guys at Georgia, are at," Rogers said. "I am right there with them, so that's a big thing for me."
Rogers, who had 86 receptions for 1,635 yards and 25 touchdowns receiving this season, feels like he could step in next season in Athens and become a legitimate receiving weapon opposite Green.
"That's an amazing opportunity," he said. "If I can come in, work hard and get the playbook down pat, I feel like I can come in and make plays early."
Right now, Georgia has the nation's fourth-ranked recruiting class. Safety Alec Ogletree (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and offensive lineman Kolton Houston (Buford, Ga./Buford) both are on the White squad with Rogers. Offensive lineman Brent Benedict (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles) was selected to the game, but is not participating because of injury.
Georgia's class should end up as one of the top in the SEC this recruiting cycle.
"I definitely think this class can come out here and make a difference," Rogers said. "[Ogletree] can definitely come in and make a difference. He's a big safety. I saw him out there today, and he did really well in one-on-ones and everything today. I feel like this class can really help out UGA."
JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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