February 12, 2008

Versatile Rogers gears for next step

Zach Rogers has long been praised for his versatility.

The latest such display? Well, right now the David Lipscomb football standout is balancing the burning desire to defend the Class 3A State Championship his Mustangs won in December; improve his speed and agility by running track; and, perhaps biggest of all, deal with the increased attention that's occurring almost daily as one of Tennessee's top football prospects in the 2009 signing class.

"It's really weird that two years from now, I'm going to be in college in front of a huge crowd, wherever I may end up," said Rogers, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound brother of current Vol wideout Austin Rogers. "We've all talked about it, coming up through high school. It's an awesome experience, and it will be a good something to change into."

Zach speaks - either literally or with his fingers - to Austin virtually every day. He also continues to prepare for track season, during which he's likely to run the 100m, 200m, high jump, triple jump and long jump - in which last year he soared 22 feet, 2 inches.

"I seek him advice from him day in, day out," said Zach, who's given up baseball to focus on football and track. "I call or text him once a day. He's been through it all. He loves helping me out with interviews and what to say to coaches. He's been a real building block for me and is always there for me."

While Zach Rogers already has offers from both Tennessee and Vanderbilt, he learned of another potential suitor during a recent conversation with Austin.

"I was talking to Austin, and he had talked to Trooper Taylor at Oklahoma State," Zach Rogers said. "(Austin) said (Taylor) might offer me soon. I've been getting further interest from Rutgers, some letters from USC (Southern Cal) last week. Those are pretty much the only ones."

Though committing before beginning defense of the state championship would be ideal, Rogers will explore his options and likely visit mostly SEC schools before make a final decision.

"I'd like to commit before my senior year, but right now I'm wide open to anything," Rogers said. "Tennessee would be ideal for me and a place I feel most at home. I've been up there practically every weekend since Austin's been there, but I'm wide open right now."

Those weekend visits made for both exhilarating and exhausting times for the Nashville-area standout.
Zach would play a game on Friday - a game in which he typically excelled on offense, defense and special teams - and accompany his family to Neyland Stadium for UT's home contests.

"I made it to almost all of the home games," Rogers said. "It was very, very tiring. I usually took a nice little nap when I would go up there. I was exhausted come Monday. But that's what you do when you've got a big brother to support."

And Zach knows the recruiting road that lies ahead for him will likewise require more support from Austin.

"I remember it was really, really hectic when it was closer to (Austin) committing," he said. "His senior year, all the letters starting rolling in. I've tried to learn from him as best as I could."

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