Under the Radar
This past season was a banner year on the gridiron for the state of Arizona. Arizona high schools produced more the 40 division one athletes who will no doubt make a name for themselves at the collegiate level. However, even though we all know about guys like Ekom Udofia, Terry Longbons, Keegan Herring, Chris McGaha, Matt Clapp, Mekell Wesley, etc, etc…There are still some players who signed with division one programs and get no recognition at all. One example of this is Central product Chris Rodgers.
24-7 recently had the pleasure to speak to Chris about his abilities and why he went unnoticed among other things.
Chris Rodgers is a big man (6-5 235), who plays with tremendous heart and a huge motor on the field. It just goes to show that no matter where you play or your teams' record, if you can play scouts will find you. Chris recently signed a letter of intent to play football for head coach Frank Solich and Ohio University. Here is what Chris had to say:
24-7: Going into your senior year at Central did you think you were a division one recruit?
Chris: "I always felt that I was a division one caliber player, even though not too many people mentioned me going into the season. My coach and my uncle always told me that I could be a division one player, they always offered positive words of encouragement and told me to just keep working and believing and it will happen."
24-7: Did the fact that you were not mentioned in the preseason and during the season for that matter serve as motivation?
Chris: "On one hand yes, but on the other hand you always have to play the game of football with a type of chip on your shoulder. However, I still wanted people to understand that even though I wasn't being talked about or recognized I was still here and I wasn't going to quit."
24-7: What were your statistics this past season?
Chris: On offense I had 25 catches for 377 yards and on defense I had 65 tackles and 9 sacks.
24-7: What about your team are you most proud of?
Chris: "What makes me proud is that, even though we didn't have the season that we really wanted (2-8) we never gave up. We just kept working and trying to get better."
24-7: How did Ohio University end up recruiting you?
Chris: "I was originally recruited by New Mexico St. and Coach Derek Mason (former player at South Mountain and Camelback H.S. and former coach at Mesa CC and NAU), however in the middle of the recruiting process, Coach Mason ended up hooking up with Ohio University and he kept recruiting me."
24-7: Have you had the opportunity to talk to Coach Solich (former Nebraska head coach)?
Chris: "Yes, I have talked to Coach twice, once on my recruiting visit and once in my house. He was a really nice guy, he told me to go where ever I felt comfortable, even if that meant not Ohio University, he also said that he plans on being at Ohio University for the long haul and he's not looking to move to a bigger school."
24-7: What position do they think you will play in college?
Chris: "I was recruited as a tight end. Coach Mason and Coach Solich said the plan is for me to compete for playing time early. I'm leaving in early June to begin practicing and lifting with the team."
24-7: Looking back what kind of advice would you give to kids regarding the recruitment process?
Chris: "Basically two things. 1. Don't be so worried about it; if you are thinking about it to much when scouts see you play they won't actually see the best of your abilities. 2. Return all phone calls, regardless if it's a school that isn't that high on your list, because you never know what might happen."
Here is what Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich has to say about Chris:
"In Chris we have the complete package. He's a very good student with excellent character. He is also an outstanding TE who has excellent receiving ability as well as the ability to develop into a great blocker."
24-7 would like to thank Chris for taking the time to complete this interview. We as a staff wish him the best of luck at Ohio University. We would also like to wish good luck to Coach Mason and the staff at Ohio University as they continue to look to Arizona for our local talent. Coach Mason knows the area well and has done a good job of recruiting in AZ when he was at NMSU.