Gerard Martinez

Top UCLA DT Target Greg Rogers Breaks Down Final Five

Aug. 8 -- After stopping by campus earlier this summer, one of the top defensive tackles on UCLA's recruiting board looks ahead to his official visit...

The recruiting roadmap is drawn and all Greg Rogers has to do is navigate through it.

If the targeted Dec. 10 announcement date remains intact, the four-star defensive tackle out of Las Vegas (Nev.) Arbor View will have four months to sort through a final five of Arizona StateColoradoOklahomaUCLA and USC, with official visits to each program already lined up. Rogers, the No. 5-rated prospect at his position in the Scout 300, said he intends to reveal his college choice through a video on his mother's birthday.

There were murmurs that Rogers was close to committing earlier this summer following back-to-back stops at UCLA and USC, but he decided to hold off and take visits during the season.

The Sooners are set to receive the first look the weekend of Sept. 17 when they host Ohio State in one of the most highly anticipated non-conference games of the year.

"I wanted to first visit schools I haven't been to yet," Rogers told "I've built a great relationship with coach (Calvin) Thibodeaux and we talk pretty much on a daily basis. I talk to coach (Bob) Stoops a whole lot, too, and the whole coaching staff. They've got a special thing going there and they're building a good class, so it's a bonus for me.

"That's going to be a huge game. I've liked watching Oklahoma football and being able to go out there with my family and be able to see that with my own eyes, it's going to be really, really big. I can't wait to get out there."

After that visit, Rogers is slated to check out the Buffaloes on Oct. 1 when they face Oregon State. Many would be surprised to see Colorado make the list while programs such as Michigan and Notre Dame missed the cut, but Rogers said he's felt the love from that staff for a long time.

"Everybody on that staff is very genuine," Rogers said. "Just getting that opportunity to talk with coach (Jim) Jeffcoat, who was a very good player, I feel like I can learn a lot of good things from him and the situations he's been in. Coach (Jim) Leavitt being one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL and coming to college football, it's all a bonus. The commits they have there now are real cool. A lot of people sleep on Colorado football but I've never been that guy. I've always liked what they have to offer. It's a great area and I just enjoy being recruited by them because they've got something special brewing there."

Gerard Martinez

Rogers has been to Arizona State before and has family in the area as well, and he'll get to see the Sun Devils closely the weekend of Oct. 8.

"Coach (Todd) Graham tells me he's not recruiting too many defensive linemen, and he tells me I remind him a lot of Will Sutton and that he wants to build a defense around me," Rogers said. "That's a big opportunity for me to be that guy in the defense. They've got Joseph Wicker now but he's more of an end than tackle, and coach Graham tells me I can be the centerpiece of that defense. Arizona is a nice area as well and they've been recruiting me forever now, so that's real, real big. I'm glad I've stuck it out and will see them again."

UCLA was a dream offer early on and Rogers was on campus earlier this summer to meet with head coach Jim Mora and assistant Angus McClure. He's set to see the Bruins in action against crosstown rival USC on Nov. 19 at the Rose Bowl.

"My thing with UCLA was that it was the first big-time program to jump on me," Rogers said. "Coach Angus has always had a relationship with me every since the beginning. He tells me that I'm his guy at defensive tackle. They had a big defensive tackle last year in Boss Tagaloa and has always coached big-time defensive linemen. Coach Angus really knows what he's talking about. Being able to talk with coach Mora is special too, just him talking to me and my family. I can't wait to get down there to see a big game before my commitment."

The Trojans will then draw the final visit the weekend of Nov. 26 when they face rival Notre Dame. Rogers dropped by campus this summer and has built a close bond with new defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze in recent months.

"There are a lot of similarities between the Los Angeles schools, and talking to coach Udeze, we have the same background story and I relate to that," Rogers said. "He was very similar to the type of player I am and what I'm going through right now with the recruiting process. He and I connect on a high level. Coach Clay (Helton) and I have a real good relationship, too. They've been pushing for me. I wasn't really being recruited by USC as hard as I am now, and once coach KU got on staff they've been reaching out to me and my family a lot. We talk on a daily basis pretty much. It's a special place up there and they've got great things going on with that class of 2017."

Rogers has established friendships with fellow recruits and The Opening participants Jaelan Phillips (UCLA) and Hunter Echols (USC) this year and, with them now being committed to rival schools, they figure to make their pitches to Rogers in the months to come.

"Both guys want me to be on their team, but we're all pretty close," Rogers said. "We've got an understanding of everything that went on with Echols backing off his UCLA commitment, and we've each got to make the decisions that are best for us. Jaelan and Hunter still love each other and they're like brothers. They both want me on their teams, obviously, but it's going to be my decision where I go."

Rogers and Arbor View kick off their season on Aug. 26 against Henderson (Nev.) Liberty.

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