No matter how you say it, there’s only one Da’Rick

It seemed a simple-enough question.

I asked Da’Rick Rogers, whose name I had heard pronounced a half-dozen different ways and had said at least a few different ways myself, “what is the correct pronunciation of your first name?”

Da'Rick "Da Freak" Rogers poses outside Phil Reeve Stadium in Calhoun. The 5-star wide receiver says he's "rock solid" on his commitment to Georgia. (Photo by Jason Getz)

Da'Rick "Da Freak" Rogers poses outside Phil Reeve Stadium in Calhoun. The 5-star wide receiver says he's "rock solid" on his commitment to Georgia. (Photo by Jason Getz)

“I really don’t know if anybody says it right or not,” Rogers says with a laugh. “My mom (Deborah Rogers), she says it was supposed to be like  David and Rick together, so she says DAY-rick. But I really don’t know how to pronounce it I’ve heard it so many different ways. I just know it’s everything but Derrick. Anything else is fine.”

Well, I asked, what do you say when you answer the phone?

“I say DAY-rick,” he told me. “But a lot of people want to say duh-REEK, because it rhymes with my nickname, ‘Da Freak.’ So I hear that a lot. It kind of depends on where somebody’s from. Country people say DAY-rick. People from the suburbs or the inner city say duh-REEK. I just answer to either.”

I suggested perhaps he should go with the initials, D.R. Then nobody would mispronounce it and, if his career takes off like everybody thinks it will, they could call him “Doctor Rogers.” Think of the marketing possibilities!

“Hmmm,” he said politely. “I’ll have to think about that.”

It took about that long to realize this wasn’t going to be your average interview. I went to Calhoun on Wednesday to get a firsthand look at the guy they call “Da Freak” for his freakish athletic skills. I knew all the football stuff, that he is one of just five five-star receivers in America, that he can break 4.4 seconds in the 40, that he has 40 catches for 767 yards and 9 TDs despite constant double teams, that he is 6-feet-3, 205 pounds and literally a man among boys. But I wanted try to find out a little more about this AJC Super 11 wide receiver and University of Georgia commitment.

I found him to be a very bright, articulate young man with a good healthy sense of humor about the whirlwind of attention that has come his way his senior season. He was also honest and frank about some of the issues he’s had to face.

In addition to Rogers, I talked to Calhoun coach Hal Lamb and to quarterback Nash Nance, a Vanderbilt commitment and one of Rogers’ closest friends.

Rogers and Nance first met as sophomores at The Darlington School, a private school in Rome where they both began high school. Rogers transferred to Calhoun as a junior and Nance followed him this past summer.

“People around here are just now kind of actually seeing what he can become,” said Nance, who has helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 9-0 record and No. 1 ranking in Class AA.  “I’ve seen him stand there and broad jump over 11 feet. You don’t see many guys do that in the pros. He’s a kid that can just stand there and jump up and hit the square on a basketball goal. Some of the times he’s run, some of the things he’s done just working out, it’s crazy. I don’t know if people know how good he really is.”

Said Lamb: “He’s as good an athlete as I’ve ever coached. He’s got everything that he needs to be big time. If he keeps his head on straight the sky’s the limit for him. I haven’t been around many five-star kids but if there is such a thing, he’s one of them. He’s got all the tools.”

Those tools were on full display last week when Rogers busted loose with 206 yards receiving and two touchdowns in a 34-0 win over Adairsville. One of the TDs came on a 96-yard reception, the other came on a 49-yard run, his only carry out of the “Wildcat package” the Yellow Jackets have recently installed for him.

With that lengthy introduction, I’ll simply share the Q&A of our interview:

Q: I saw you got a fifth star from both Scout.com and Rivals.com a couple of weeks ago. That a big deal to you?

A: “Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. Just shows I’ve been working hard. It kind of makes you want to work even harder. The harder you work the better the tributes are, I guess. There’s only like five or six [five-star prospects at wide receiver] this year, so it feels good to be one.”

Q: Yeah, but there’s some pressure that comes with that, too, isn’t there?

A: “I just try to take it all in and relax about it and brush the pressure away. I try to take it as motivation to just keep doing the right things. Coach is always telling me, do the right things and good things will happen to you. So I’ll just continue to do that.”

Q: So you’ve been committed to Georgia since June, but word is other teams are still coming after you. Who’s still pursuing you?

A: “Tennessee, USC and Florida. But I’m rock solid with Georgia.”

Q: What are some things they’re doing to try to get your attention?

A: “Hand-writing letters, coming to see me at lot, Facebook, MySpace, any means of communication they can find. They call my mom, they call the coaches, they call me. I try to avoid all recruiting but sometimes you can’t, so you have to talk to them. I’ll talk to them and tell them I’m locked into UGA. But they don’t care. They’ll still talk to you anyway.”

Q: Georgia’s obviously having a tough year, 4-4 so far. Do rival recruiters say anything about that?

A: “Oh yeah, they bring it up. But the way I see it is everybody has a down year. And it’s not really a down year. They’re just in a little slump. And from what I’ve seen the recruiting class coming in with me this year is going to help out a ton, especially on the defensive side where I feel like we’re lacking the most. Georgia’s going to be fine.”

Q: Since we’re on that subject, can you revisit your reasoning for choosing the Bulldogs?

A: “Mainly it was the coaches. I really couldn’t go wrong with the schools I was considering. So it really came down to personalities and getting to know the coaches and how the coaches approached me. Georgia really went way past football with me. They talked a lot about academics, about life. They came down here a lot, talked to my mother a lot. Really I just felt good about the coaches.”

Q: There’s a lot of scuttlebutt going around that you have some academic issues. Is that true?

A: “It’s something I’ve already got a handle on. I worked all summer; I’ve worked all fall. I’ve got all A’s and B’s right now. Last year I just wasn’t really focused. I just kind of goofed off. Your junior year is probably the last times you need to goof off and I goofed off most of the year. I was kind of on the borderline with B’s and some C’s. This year I’ve had to focus and get everything straight and right now I have all A’s and B’s. I just need to stay ahead of the pack now.”

Q: Talk about your relationship with Nash Nance.

A: “We first met over at Darlington. We’re pretty much like brothers, black and white brothers. I’m over there at his house all the time, hanging out, spending the night. I love him.”

Q: It looks like y’all have a lot of good players on offense, not just you and Nash.

A: “[Junior wide receiver] J. T. Palmer is a great player; he plays on the other side. We have a whole new line this year and they’ve done a great job. But mainly Dustin Christian. I feel like he’s one of the best junior backs in the state. Underrated. He’s kind of small but he’s thick up top and quick as a cat and hard to tackle. I don’t know what to say about him but he has just done some amazing things.”

Q: You guys are rolling, 9-0 heading into Friday’s game against Armuchee. What’s the feeling heading toward the playoffs?

A: “We’re getting better each and every week. Everything’s getting a little more up-tempo now. Last year we got better every game until the end of the season and I thing we’re on the same track. As long as we keep getting better we’re going to be hard to beat.”

81 comments Add your comment

Ginger

November 5th, 2009
10:11 am

Enjoyed this story very much. Great questions & answers…Am very excited that D.R. Rogers is committed to Ga. I wonder if Nance is someone that we could look at as a possible QB at Ga because we have learn from this yr and that you can’t have enough QB prospects in the program. Is Nance someone who could play in the secondary if QB did not work out at UGA?

Flo-Ri-Duh!

November 5th, 2009
10:17 am

Da’ Rick, A.J. Green, Marlon Brown, Tavarres King, Wooten, Orson Charles – somebody is recruiting right and they will have the 3rd highest rated QB (Aaron Murray) in his class throwing to them with a veteran line and all the RB’s back….. the offense should be solid.

Chip Towers

November 5th, 2009
10:23 am

Da’Rick said he is very excited about playing with Aaron Murray and A.J . Green next year.

theTruth

November 5th, 2009
10:24 am

Welcome to Mr. Rogers neighborhood.

Two Calhoun WR’s on the same team at UGA. Never thought I could say that. Good to hear that Mr. Rogers is a man of his word.

YEP

November 5th, 2009
10:26 am

Nance is going to school for an education. He was being recruited by Harvard and Brown before he signed with Vandy. As far as Derrick (cause Da’Rick sounds unbelievably stupid, and I refuse to call him that), he will bust. He has a lot of natural talent, but he isn’t good enough to overcome THREE major downfalls. 1) He has an EGO the size of Texas. There are very few players talented enough to overcome the enormous ego he has, and he isn’t one of them. 2) He is a horrible route runner. If you can really even call what he runs routes. He is pretty much a “fly route down the sidelines” kind of guy. This doesn’t fly in the D-1A game, unless you’re Texas Tech. 3) He plays AA ball in a region that is notoriously bad and lacks any real talent. They don’t play only other good team with in that region (Pepperell) and the rest are not very good. If he can overcome those things: Lack of competition in high school, Balloon Sized Head, and Route Running Ability he will be fine.

getthepicturenow

November 5th, 2009
10:37 am

great read Chip, congrats to Da’Rick welcome to Bulldog Nation my man!

The Real Deal

November 5th, 2009
10:38 am

Great attitude from Da Rick about UGA’s record. I hope all of our recruits feel the same way. YEP get a life. This kid seems humble and down to earth – just cause your fb career didn’t work out doesn’t mean his won’t.

Randy Holbrook

November 5th, 2009
10:42 am

Great analysis coach “Yep”. It is clear to see that you are a highly trained football mind. I’m sure you know a lot more than all of those UGA, USC, & UT coaches and scouts. You also sound very unbiased and not the least bit jealous.
Best of luck to you Da’Rick. You seem like a nice kid from my experience. Ignore the haters and follow the advice of coach Lamb and you will be awesome.

theTruth

November 5th, 2009
10:42 am

YEP, show me a five star WR that doesn’t have an ego. I wouldn’t call Dalton a pushover. (Yes I know they aren’t AA) but rather AAAA and he had a great game against them.

Mark Olsen

November 5th, 2009
10:47 am

Wow, what a dumb comment. a high school kid being a poor route runner? Imagine that? I am sure that has never happened before. UGA should yank his ship. Wow you are dumb!!!! Oh and, where do I start with listing AA kids who have been studs in college and the NFL? Did I mention you are dumb?

chipperdawg

November 5th, 2009
10:57 am

First, to “Yep”, I say, Dude, with a handle like “Yep”, who are you to say anybody has a stupid name?! You’re obviously another jealous nerd from N. Ave. Go play on your on site and leave this conversation to the grown-ups, okay? And to Da’Rick, I say congrats to you my friend!! Can’t wait to see you in the Red and Black, between the hedges gettin’on with being “Da Freak”!! Go Dawgs!!! Woof, Woof, Woof!!!

chad poarch

November 5th, 2009
11:00 am

Yep must be from Adairsville!

Jefferson

November 5th, 2009
11:08 am

Or Summerville

John

November 5th, 2009
11:14 am

YEP. Are you a freakin moron? You refuse to call a kid by his name? It doesn’t matter what it sounds like to you. You are not his parents and don’t get to make that call. As far as a route runner he runs the one that they call for him. I have watched him play in this region a couple of times and your right it is a pretty bad region, but if I had a five star WR on my team all I would call is the fly route too. He does run others like the screen, but that is a coach’s decision not his. I would suggest that you grow up a little and learn how stupid you look at this point.

shannon1776

November 5th, 2009
11:14 am

Hey YEP, 90% of the WR’s in high schools run bad routes moron-because they simply use their talent to get by. Secondly, show me a WR who DOESN’T have an ego and I will show you a 3rd string WR at Vandy or Duke.

Kennesaw Dawg

November 5th, 2009
11:26 am

YEP is obvioulsy a NOPE!

Christiankev

November 5th, 2009
11:26 am

Da’rick does have a huge ego problem. He has had several unsportsmanlike penalties against him this year. He must get that under control. He has speed like a cheetah. I cannot wait to see what he can do at UGA if he can truly harvest all this talent. Also, why did you make that comment about Summerville….oh Jefferson? haha. He didn’t even score against Chattooga…i guess you know where i’m from now..haha

Geo

November 5th, 2009
11:30 am

Hopefully, Rogers does well in the future, but it makes me wonder why the coach would make a comment like this. “If he keeps his head on straight the sky’s the limit for him.” Why not just say, he’s a great kid and the sky’s the limit? On the field it is clear, Rogers is a top player.

Joe Blow

November 5th, 2009
11:49 am

Too bad he won’t qualify – won’t ever get a chance to get shut down like AJ – 45-19!

Joe Blow

November 5th, 2009
11:49 am

Too bad he’ll never qualify – will never get a chance to get shut down like your last 5-star WR – 45-19!

Joe Blow

November 5th, 2009
11:50 am

Did I happen to mention 45-19!

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 5th, 2009
11:51 am

UGA is going to have the greatest WR corps in the schools history next year!Chip I hear Christian Green another 5 star has UGA at the top of his list too.any word if that is still true?Also with Ball done how many kids do we sign in this class?

Delbert D.

November 5th, 2009
12:06 pm

Rogers sounds like a kid who has it together. Paired with AJ Green…hmmmm. Nightmare for DCs and DBs. The question is will CMR still be wringing his hands indecisively in September about who’s actually going to play QB?

Supes

November 5th, 2009
12:10 pm

All the more a reason for CMR to abandon the current O-Style Philosophy and go with 1RB and 3-4 wide with Aaron Murray in shotgun!

Big G

November 5th, 2009
12:13 pm

I was glad to read this and read some of his own words. He seems to have a better head on his shoulders than what I think people were saying back during the summer. I believe the talent is there, my only concerns have been his attitude, and just reading this article, he seems to now have that under control. Look forward to seeing him out there with AJ, AM, OC, and the rest of the Dawgs next year. With the write play calling and a new QB, this offense should be very potent. I am happy for Coach Lamb as well. I played for him when he was a Cartersville and he is a great guy. He is a coach that instills descipline, but can also relate to his players. I hated to see him leave Cartersville. Good Luck in the playoff’s!

benadawg

November 5th, 2009
12:13 pm

hey jefferson you are a punk. calling summerville out like that,we know how good Chattooga and Calhoun are and the rest is in our dust, so run your mouth all you want but yep is the real punk. bite down on that!!

Jefferson

November 5th, 2009
12:34 pm

Hey men, some Indian fan posted some trash about him this week or last so thats why Summerville got the dig. Chattooga is one of Calhoun’s toughest teams in the sub region and the Indians not winning(against the Jackets) in 9 years has put a big target on them. Name callers are childish in my book. And lighten up Francis.

Louis Varnson

November 5th, 2009
12:47 pm

Great Work Chip!

Reality Check, really

November 5th, 2009
12:52 pm

The greatest recieving corp EVER. All 5 stars and you can look at our record and see what happens when you get 50 5 star recruits on the same team, they may even win 7 games next year!
You half wits never learn that those services know nothing, lol. Keep winning the “recruiting wars” and keep Richt and Martinez. And I’ll vote to let the 5 star Reshad Jones never graduate (Oh, I mean run out of eligibility), man he can tackle. On the serious side he can really hit people, but he only does it after the whistle blows, it’s easier that way, lol.

dawgpound

November 5th, 2009
12:58 pm

yep, need i remind you that champ bailey came from folkston ga, a very very small school.

YEP

November 5th, 2009
1:07 pm

I never said he wasn’t talented!!! He has raw talent out the WAZOOOO. Nor, am I saying that he cannot overcome those three downfalls. But, they are evident if you have ever watched him play. Someone said something about Dalton. I have watched a couple of Dalton games this year, and can tell you hands down that they are extremely weak at the cornerback position. So, to compare him to their cornerbacks is laughable. Not to say Dalton as a whole doesn’t look good, because they do. I did notice that they have a FREAK playing right tackle. He’s a 6′7″ 300 lb JUNIOR… That guy scared me in the stands. Maybe he should have covered Da’Rick.

Really?

November 5th, 2009
1:16 pm

YEP- you obviously know way more then all these coaches that are recruiting him which would include whoever your team is. Amazing that you are the only one in the nation that knows this. If I was you I would submit your resume right away to be a top recruiter at a big time university since you are such a great talent evaluator! You would be a big asset to some school!

Vanderbilt is next

November 5th, 2009
1:19 pm

Jonathan Dowling(#8 ESPN 150) and Demar Dorsey(#11 ESPN 150) are coming to Gainesville and look forward to shutting down Da’Rick for many seasons to come.

ReptilesRule

November 5th, 2009
1:30 pm

Hummm…looks like more Gator bait to me!!

Ogeechee Dawg

November 5th, 2009
1:39 pm

VolsRule – pretty bad when you can’t even spell TENNESSEE!!!

Hey – your staff and program are playing well – congrats.

Do you want to bet that Kiffin will be leaving TENNESSEE before Richt leaves UGA?

Did’nt think so!

Kiffin is trying to parlay his TENNESSEE job into the USC job when Pete leaves. If that does not work out – he wants to be a HC in the NFL. TENNESSEE is merely a stepping stone to land a better job. He will be gone is a few short seasons.

Calhoun alum

November 5th, 2009
1:42 pm

Ask DaRick why he got kicked out of Darlington and why the Nances had to pull strings for him to even enroll at Calhoun. With that he is going to be able first get into uga and stay for four years. Yeah right, he is a typical uga recruit now that I think about it.

Mark Olsen

November 5th, 2009
1:54 pm

This is really sad.

Yikes!

November 5th, 2009
1:57 pm

VolsRule – How is your boy Nu’kesse Richardson doing?

Big Dawg

November 5th, 2009
1:59 pm

I watched him for the first time last week against Adairsville. I admit Adairsville is awful, but this kid is a man among boys! They ran alot of screen pass to him, but he would get huge chunks of yards after the catch. He is awesome in the open field! If this kid can ajust quick to the college game he will play as a freshman. He has the body and speed to be just like Calvin Johnson, weither he becomes that player, we will see! Oh by the way he WILL be a good route runner you wait and see, he is to athletic not to!

Yikes!

November 5th, 2009
2:01 pm

VolsRule – all of your credibility went out the window when you spelled TENNESSEE incorrect. Might not want to comment on here again. Thanks in advance!

theTruth

November 5th, 2009
2:02 pm

VOLSRULE, yes I would take that bet in a heartbeat.

Using common sense, you are excited to be 4-4 while Dawg fans are extremely mad at being 4-4. I wrongly assumed only Vanderbilt had ‘moral victories’ in the SEC. Maybe next year you might win more than ONE SEC game. You win one game in the SEC and know you are proclaiming national championships? Wow, just wow.

We've Been Neutered

November 5th, 2009
2:05 pm

Son, I really think this is silly. You are choosing to go to an institution that has not sniffed a National championship in nearly 30 years. I’m sure kids –of QUALITY–will continue to attend Georgia right up until Mark decides his real life’s mission is work in counteies that only Borat would frequent.

Duke Yellowjacket

November 5th, 2009
2:06 pm

I’ve got a hunch that Yep, Christiankev and Calhoun alum ALL have a clue about Da’Rick, Derek … or whatever TF his name is … and that’s what’s REALLY sad.

Georgia 86

November 5th, 2009
2:07 pm

Yikes, They killed us, their coach is taunting us and you have the audacity to ask them about a guy who does not play much. PLEASE tell me you did not attend Georgia. PLEASE!!!

theTruth

November 5th, 2009
2:10 pm

YIKES, I do believe I passed Nu’Keese on I-75 going home while flipping LK the bird.

theTruth

November 5th, 2009
2:14 pm

Ga 86, Nu’keese left the Vols because ‘he is homesick’ according to LK. It was a joke. The inside story is NR was saying he was punked by LK and was lied to. Apparently a lot of the ‘promises’ haven’t been fulfilled on LK’s part. Not sure what they were, only those two will every know.

VolsRBack

November 5th, 2009
2:19 pm

Uhh, Mr. (or Ms.) theTruth:

45-19.

Pipe it.

Yikes!

November 5th, 2009
2:21 pm

Georgia 86- actually I am a Gator Alum but thanks for being concerned. Just not a big fan of Kiffin and UT in general. Anything else you would like to know? Oh and by the way…….41-17!

Alphare

November 5th, 2009
3:13 pm

Can this guy tackle and cover? what’s what UGA need.

Monticello Dawg

November 5th, 2009
3:14 pm

Why the need to slam high school recruits no matter where they are headed?

Why all the vitriol against the Dogs? Though we have an identical record with UT, this has been a disappointing year for us. To me all this piling on indicates some people are not very secure, know this year is an aberration, and fear payback next year.

With two SEC championships in a five year period, knowledgeable rival fans know Mark Richt can get it done. Look for the needed staff changes post season, and watch Aaron Murray and his receiving corps start torching defenses.