The last time Stanford signed a recruit from the state of Tennessee, they landed a top prep wide receiver who would go on to earn All-American honors on The Farm. Luke Powell gave Stanford a great college career, but the Cardinal have yet to land another scholarship player from Rocky Top country since that dramatic winter 1999 press conference in Smyrna. Six years later, the Card are taking a crack at yet another Volunteer State receiver recruit, and by the numbers, Austin Rogers might be just as exciting a big-play threat as the venerable Powell.
Five times during the 2003 season, Rogers broke the century mark in single-game receiving yardage, and four of those games saw him break triple digits with just a pair of catches. He caught seven touchdown passes of more than 50 yards. All told, he racked up 1,180 yards on 32 receptions for 18 touchdowns. Rogers also picked up nine interceptions on defense at the safety position, returning two for scores.
"I'm the first wide receiver to go over 1,000 in school history," the Nashville standout informs. "Our coach is kind of old-fashioned and likes to run the ball. But every time we needed a big play, they would just throw it deep to me."
Indeed, Rogers only had the ball thrown at him 40 times this year, which gave him an average of 29.5 yards per throw as well as 36.9 yards per reception. You'll be hard-pressed to find another prep on the planet with that kind of production, and about the only thing you can argue is why the Mustangs at the David Lipscomb Campus School did not get Rogers the ball more often. Somewhere in the distance, Keyshawn Johnson is bellowing his credo with renewed gusto at this injustice...
But the Mustangs went 14-0 before losing the state championship game in December. It's hard to argue with their offensive formula, which also let Rogers run the ball 15 times for 250 yards and another score. As you would expect, a player with such a penchant for the big play has some high performance wheels that let him get open downfield.
"I think my speed is my biggest weapon. I can get by just about anyone," the 2003 Class 2A All-State wideout describes. "And I've got good jumping ability that lets me go over people."
Rogers is confident in his athletic tools, but he is still awaiting his first scholarship offer. Some pundits might question his self-reported 4.4 speed, but he backed that up and more this past weekend at the LSU Nike Camp. There in Baton Rouge, Rogers ran the fastest 40 of any receiver at the combine and third best (tied) overall at 4.41. Put that together with his 33" vertical leaping ability and 6'2" size, and is recruitment should pick right up.
"I think I did really well out there and held my own with the other receivers," Rogers reports on the Sunday combine. "I'm glad to get that [40 time] official and hope it will spark some interest."
He already has been hearing a lot from the likes of Tennessee, LSU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Alabama, Auburn, Penn State, Georgia, Michigan, Arkansas and Stanford. He says his early favorites are Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vandy, Virginia and Stanford.
"Stanford ranks pretty high for me," the Nashville student-athlete reveals of his cross-country suitors. "I haven't thought that hard yet about going that far away - across the country. Stanford started recruiting me several weeks ago, but they've impressed me with their handwritten letters."
"Academics is a big thing for me in my decision," Rogers continues in confirmation of the Caridnal. "Even though my dream is the NFL, I realize it takes a little luck for that to happen. I like big Division I schools. I'll look at the head coach and what offense they run at the schools I'm considering."
Austin Rogers carries a 3.62 GPA at David Lipscomb and has scored nicely on the ACT (24) and SAT (1180). He comments that ideally he would like to wrap up his recruitment before his senior season, but "that depends on the scholarship offers."
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