UGA-bound Da’Rick Rogers stands out at Under Armour

This is the front of the room in the players' lounge at the Coronado Springs Resort where the Under Armour All-Americans are staying this week. (Chip Towers)

This is the front of the room in the players' lounge at the Coronado Springs Resort where the Under Armour All-Americans are staying this week. (Chip Towers)

Greetings from Orlando. I’m finally here at the Coronado Springs Resort on Disney property in what’s actually Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Thanks to the service I got at the car rental counter at Tampa International Airport — remember that lady from the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, she was positively urgent compared to the one dude at this place — it took me more than a half hour to get out of the airport and then I had to make the 80-mile drive here.

But I’m here now and it’s a beautiful place the Under Armour All-America folks have provided for these elite prospects. At this writing I’m deep inside the lair, you might say. I’m in the players lounge. Not sure if I’m actually supposed to be but I walked in and set up my computer at the back of the large ballroom and nobody said anything.

That's a lot of shoes!

That's a lot of shoes!

I’m sitting next to 10, 15-box-high stacks of Under Armour shoes in the back corner (I counted). That’s a lot of shoes. They also have shoes and clothes displayed as you would see in a department store, three deep rows of black leather couches in front of six wide-screen televisions, video games and computers set up next to two walls and two pool tables in the expansive room. You can tell it’s a first-class setup for these guys.

I arrived too late to catch any of the live practices and skill challenges today over at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex but I caught several of the players as they arrived back here at the resort and I did talk to some friends at ESPN, who are taping it and showing some of it right now on ESPNU. The most interesting thing I’ve seen so far is watching these guys watch themselves on the tape delay. Every once in a while you’ll hear them laugh and point when they see themselves in action.

The word was that wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers of Calhoun was probably the biggest standout today. I talked to the Georgia commitment shortly after he got back to the hotel and he did not disagree.

“Yeah, I kind of felt that way, too,” said Rogers, who established the state receiving record with more than 1,600 yards for Calhoun this past season. “Once the balls started coming my way I started making a couple of plays. But it’s tough competition out here and you really have to work hard to get the balls you want.”

Rogers said he was able to catch some balls with 5-star defensive backs Lamarcus Joyner and Damarcus Millner defending him in one-on-ones, pass skeletons and seven-on-seven drills. Later he felt like he excelled in the skills competition for wideouts.

“I went against all those guys and I pretty much showed them all up,” Rogers said, laughing. “My future teammate [Alec Ogletree] got some, too. I just went out there and worked hard and ran good routes and it paid off for me.”

Gainesville wide receiver Tai-ler Jones was not quite as fortunate. He tangled up with cornerback Cody Riggs going for a ball early in the day in one-on-ones and aggravated the left ankle sprain he suffered during the state championship game at the Georgia Dome. As a result the Notre Dame commitment was unable to continue the rest of the day. But he received treatment there and was getting some more tonight and was hopeful he’ll be able to continue.

I also talked North Gwinnett offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, who reported he had a good first day. James assured me he remains solidly committed to Tennessee and in fact will enroll there on Jan. 8. He also told me about the interview he had with NCAA investigators a few weeks ago regarding Tennessee’s recruitment and use of hostesses and social media. He informed me that the now infamous Lacey Earps was indeed his hostess on his official visit to Knoxville. “She’s a nice girl, just like any other host I had at any other school,” James said. I’ll have a full report on my conversation with big Ja’Wuan a little later.

I’ve got to go for now. I need to do some more reporting and file a story for the printed newspaper. But check back soon for more updates. They’ll be coming fast and furious for the next few days.

I’ll leave this with you: It was 72 degrees here today.

120 comments Add your comment

Steen

December 30th, 2009
5:02 pm

Ogletree + Da’Rick = Natty Championship

UGA 2010

December 30th, 2009
5:02 pm

Way to go Chip, maybe you can get one or two of them into giving you some hints on which school they have in mind more than others.

Steen

December 30th, 2009
5:03 pm

Add Jakar “The Hitman” Hamilton in place of Bryan Evans

allan in texas

December 30th, 2009
5:12 pm

Da’Rick Rogers, A.J. Green, Aron Murray! Let’s go get it!

Eat It St. Simons

December 30th, 2009
5:14 pm

((((30-24)))) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

BS Patrol

December 30th, 2009
5:23 pm

Chip, You a funny man! But remember this is a family newspaper!

DaltonDAWG706

December 30th, 2009
5:38 pm

Ayee! Put on For Georgia Ya’ll!

FLDAWG

December 30th, 2009
5:43 pm

Any one seen or heard from st.simons or gt4life, where are these guys, after showing up everyday where did they go?

Frank

December 30th, 2009
5:43 pm

Nice report Chip, keep up the good work.

THWGT!!!!!!

hunkerdown

December 30th, 2009
5:56 pm

Lucky you chip, wish I were there. Is the Coronado nice? We drive by it each September when down at the Mouse trap with the kiddies. Glad to hear Da freak is having a big day and time. I hear he is a special player. Keep up the good work on keeping us up todate please. Go Dawgs!

doug

December 30th, 2009
5:58 pm

Get real. With the coaching we have at Georgia, it doesnt matter how many of these guys we get, we have no chance at an NC. 0……..Nada. Out of the question.

Joe

December 30th, 2009
6:00 pm

good thing Da’Rick is humble.

GT IS STILL A 4TH RATE HIGH SCHOOL TEAM

December 30th, 2009
6:12 pm

doug, YOU ARE A YELLOW TUCK IN THE CLOSET. HAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHHAHAHAAHA

TampaGator

December 30th, 2009
6:13 pm

I just finished watching the ESPN show on the UA practice. Rogers looked really quick and beat everyone one on one (and he can really get up too). How does he do in zone and one on one when the safeties are backing up the corners. He did well when he could cut and go any direction he wanted. How does he run and stick with routes? This kid looks like the real deal. From watching him, he certainly looks like he could make a contribution as a freshman, giving Georgia somneone to draw doubles off of Green. I watched Brown last year at the UA practice and was not impressed. He didn’t do much this year, did he? But Rogers is very impressive. He was the best WR out there today from what I saw on the TV. Joyner was the best CB and Rogers beat him one on one. If one of the QBs can step up next year, Georgia should have an outstanding offensive team. Not too sure how good their D will be with all those really good DL leaving and Jones as well. But offense should not be a problem for the Dawgs next year. But you have to have both sides to win a NC or SEC title….just ask the Gators who did not have a great offense this year.

Buckhead Bulldog

December 30th, 2009
6:26 pm

TampaGator: A very well thought out post with some nice insight. I knew you had it in ya. : )

Good luck in the Sugar! Don’t think you’ll need luck, but nonetheless.

Dawg Whisperer

December 30th, 2009
6:27 pm

Nice acknowledgement from TampaGator! Maybe, next year’s game will be more competitive.

Bremen Dawg

December 30th, 2009
6:35 pm

Show them how its done Da’Rick

tenn.DAWG

December 30th, 2009
6:39 pm

Da’Rick Da’Bomb.Sorry couldn’t help it.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

December 30th, 2009
6:46 pm

Juwaaun says Tick Hounds “hostess” Lacey Earps (love that name!) was his hostess and she was a really (wink,wink) nice girl. and he definitely committed to Lacey Earps, ugh I mean the Tick Hounds.

south

December 30th, 2009
6:47 pm

Tampa Gator -

You hit the nail on the head. Talent only gets you so far, coaching these guys up is the key. Hopefully we hire the right DC because I have no doubt we have the talent in Athens to compete with anyone.

Good luck in the Sugar.

Represent!

TampaGator

December 30th, 2009
6:49 pm

Also…ESPN’s recruiting site has a great breakdown on today’s practice. Mr. Rogers will have some challenges beating the future Florida seconday of CBs – Joshua Shaw, Cody Riggs, Jaylen Watkins and safeties – Demar Dorsey (who may play WR at Florida), Johathan Dowling (who is going to be the best free safety in the country in a couple of years), and Matt Elam and strong safety (if he does not jump to West Virginia or FSU because of this week’s events). And Florida already has excellent young talent on the roster all all those positions. Should be interesting in Jacksonville for a few years to come. But Georgia still needs to fix their D and Florida needs to improve at WR and RB… I know you don’t believe me, but QB will NOT be a problem at Florida the next two years with John Brantly filling up the airways, etc. He will be a first round NFL draft pick in two years.

goldwreck

December 30th, 2009
6:52 pm

Georgia’s defense next year should be a good example of addition by subtraction based on their
Independence Bowl showing.
Chavis is not the answer.

TampaGator

December 30th, 2009
6:54 pm

P.S….that is John Brantley (not Brantly)….also…the ESPN site also had some nice things to say about Chris Dunkley at WR (a possible Gator commit on Saturday…I sure hope Bama or FSU have not swayed him away in the last couple of days. I don’t think so because the new Gators WR coach is very impressive…much better coach and recruiter than Gonzalez was. And the Gators sure have a need at WR.

TampaGator

December 30th, 2009
6:57 pm

Went to the Outback Bowl beach party today at Clearwater Beach….Auburn fans do not appear to be all that into the game…which will not help the Tigers against NW. Also, LSU will be playing Penn State on that terrible turf in the Citrus. That is not good for LSU as their speed and quickness will be impacted as Miami’s was last night. The SEC could take some Big Ten hits in the Bowls this year. I think the Big Ten teams are fired up to beat the SEC teams…and they might.

GA wins NC in 2010

December 30th, 2009
7:01 pm

D-Rogers sounds like a “me” player. Dam#, young man, act like you’ve been there before. But then again Richt (at FSU), and as we’ve witnessed over the past few years here at GA, doesn’t seem to be bothered by the character of his players.

And relax dog fans before you “pull a GA fan” (i.e. read WAY too much into a story) …. these were drills (5 on 5, 7 on 7), and not live games!

rrich

December 30th, 2009
7:03 pm

Murry at QB. Ealey and King at RB. Green and Rodgers at WR. White and Chalres at TE. Special teams playing like they have been. Butler And Walsh kicking and punting. John Chavis as DC. Look out SEC EAST. Looks like theres a new champion in the makes. Dawgs will be a great team for years to come

VA DAWG

December 30th, 2009
7:08 pm

Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenburger have to be licking their lips. Whichever one ends up at QB will have some unbelievable receivers….AJ Green, Orson Charles, Aaron White, Rantavious Wooten, Tavarres King, Israel Troupe, Marlon Brown (he will develop into a good receiver)and now Da’Rick Rogers. Also, Arthur Lynch is a huge physical specimen with a lot of potential.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

December 30th, 2009
7:10 pm

Da’ Rick is da’ real deal. Richt needs to go hard after the DT from Warner Robins (Whitaker) – Thornton is going to Auburn and UGA needs another DT in this class. Whitaker is better than Thornton in the middle.

Matt

December 30th, 2009
7:11 pm

Da’Rick is a really stupid name.

Why would someone name their child that?

AtlantaGator

December 30th, 2009
7:12 pm

I hear they have an airport in Orlando

Flo-Ri-Duh!

December 30th, 2009
7:12 pm

Va Dawg – none of the QB’s at UGA will be doing anything but getting up off of the ground unless the O-line improves. Receivers have been getting open but the QB has been under assault all year – resulting 15 interceptions.

rrich

December 30th, 2009
7:12 pm

Goldwreck look at chaises record at tenn. they were always top 10 on Defense and in one year at LSU they went from really bad to 12th on defense. Also he knows how to defend SEC football I would that kind of change any day……..

rrich

December 30th, 2009
7:16 pm

Da’Rick sounds like a great name to be an all SEC and a NFL player

Pi$$onaJacket

December 30th, 2009
7:18 pm

Sounds like a definite National Championship to me with these guys! 30-24 still makes me smile. Go IOWA!

Buckhead Bulldog

December 30th, 2009
7:24 pm

TampaGator : I’ve heard the same about John Brantley from some of my Gator buds….they say he has a hell of arm and puts the ball on the numbers. I have not personally seen him, but I do remember the hoopla surrounding his signing with the Gators.

Buckhead Bulldog

December 30th, 2009
7:26 pm

Just think Matt, you could have walked around with the name of “Da’Matt” if your mama would have been creative……just kidding!

Brian Jones Tech fan

December 30th, 2009
7:30 pm

Ok lets nip it in the bud. Just because the kid is confident and and says he felt like he stood out doesnt make him non humble or a me player. maybe just maybe he is something that my GT coach is confident in his ability nothing wrong with that at all. So all GT fans shut up let a kid shine and enjoy time in the spotlight

BuzztheKiller

December 30th, 2009
7:30 pm

Da’Rick had the luxury of good coaching at Calhoun. Unfortunately for him he now goes to a team with coaches that manage to get the least out of top talent. Too bad he didn’t have the test scores to get into Tech, he could have replaced D. Thomas.

Finebaum

December 30th, 2009
7:46 pm

BuzztheKiller: The coaching at UGA is solid enough to whip your NERD arse every year. LOL. You all suck and should give up football.

rrich

December 30th, 2009
8:00 pm

I Know what BUZZ maybe you could beat Ga at a spelling BEEEEEEE 30-24 GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!

BJohnDawg

December 30th, 2009
8:07 pm

Glad Rogers is doing well. Tampa Gator….you don’t have to convince us. What I have seen of John Brantley, he is a player. I dont see a drop off in QB. He has got a heck of an arm. I wish we had him at UGA.Especially this last year. Should be more competitive the next two years then previously. IF we can find a defense, and a QB we will be okay. If not probably more of 40 something to 17 something outcomes.

And before anyone questions it, I am a big a Dawg fan as anyone. But I am able to speak the truth and not be a blind fan. The Dawgs have to have some serious improvement in their defense, their turnover ratio and those d%$# penalties if they want to compete for the title.

TampasGator

December 30th, 2009
8:13 pm

CMR is a much better coach than Meyer. Rogers will love Georgia. How bout’ dem Dogs?

FLRDADAWG

December 30th, 2009
8:15 pm

With all the confusion in Jax, Georgia’s going to have a recruiting windfall. Big window for the Richtster.

TampaGator

December 30th, 2009
8:23 pm

Based on what data, Tampas, other than runs of the mouth disease??????not winning percentage, not SEC championships, not national titles, not sending assistant coaches to head coaching positions, not in recruiting better classes, not in day of game coaching skill…the only thing Richt has beaten Meyer at so far is 1 out of 5 games won against Meyer, being at his school twice as long but not having won more championships than Meyer, and having better health than Meyer. Come on….Man!!!!!

Buckhead Bulldog

December 30th, 2009
8:27 pm

FLRDADAWG: Ummm, I think you mean Gainesville?

Gators are loaded…..I would not worry too much about their situation. We need to get our own house in order NOW!

TampaGator

December 30th, 2009
8:50 pm

FLRDAWG…the only recruit I know of who had already committed to the Gators but who is now wavering at all is Elam. This weekend at the UA game will tell a lot about how the uncommitted who are leaning to Gators will go….the Gators need to get Dunkley at WR. They also need to get Ronald Powell back thinking he is a Gator again. I believe Meyer will personally take care of that. The big, #1 OL from Ohio (Henderson) is no longer a Gator lean and will not be a Gator now, I don’t think. But maybe that will open the door for Chaz Green to come back to favoring the Gators. But I think he will be a Vol still.

Calhoun alum

December 30th, 2009
8:54 pm

DaRick + grades = ga military

FLRDADAWG

December 30th, 2009
9:14 pm

Once Richt announces his new DC, the recruiting bin will open at Florida and guys will start heading to Georgia. Urban quits too much–he just quit for the 7th time– voluntarily. Meyer splits after somewhere between 1 & 6 years, every time. These recruits ain’t fools. They know Saban and Meyer are quitters, Richt will be here, winning like 90 SEC games in 9 years, nobody can touch him there–not Meyer, Not Saban, not Miles.

dawgstephen

December 30th, 2009
9:23 pm

I have listed some of the Out of conference comparisons that the different SEC schools play. Here are some of the opponents. None of these are EVERY year games, these are specially scheduled, and all of these included an SEC team traveling OUTSIDE the conference to play ON THE ROAD in the REGULAR SEASON…the opponents are as follows

Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Southern Cal, California, Texas, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Michigan, Arizona State, Colorado, Louisville, Texas, Penn State and Virginia Tech.

Why is this important?? Because NONE of them are games that Florida has the “Courage” to schedule. Look at the schedules..See for yourself. Summarized on my blog. Facts dont lie.

http://dawgstephen.blogspot.com/

Nathan Bedford Forest

December 30th, 2009
9:25 pm

Wasn’t it nice to see a bunch of white boys kicking some butt last night (Wisconsin) and also tonight with Nebraska? Go Stanford!!!!!