RECRUITING UPDATE: Juwaan Rogers
Amite inside linebacker on Tigers’ radar
When senior linebacker Kelvin Sheppard left the LSU program after a stellar career in purple and gold, a sizeable hole was left behind.
A hole that wasn’t filled in LSU’s 2011 recruiting class, when the Tigers only received one linebacker signee, Trevon Randle, an outside ‘backer from League City, Texas.
At 6-1, 205 pounds entering college, Randle might not quite have the size to replace the large shoes of Sheppard.
But fear not, because the Tigers have already secured verbal commitments from two potential linebackers in their 2012 class, Trey Granier of Thibodaux and possibly Ronnie Feist of West St. John.
But the buck doesn’t stop here, as there’s another local linebacker the Tigers could be turning their attention to very soon - Juwaan Rogers of Amite High School.
At 6-feet-tall and 235 pounds, Rogers’ high school coach Alden Foster said the prospect brings a great deal of athleticism into the fold as well as having tremendous physical strength.
“He’s an inside linebacker. He’s a run stopper, and he can cover the pass also,” said Foster. “You’re talking about a 6-foot, 235 pound kid that could do flips just like that Braylon Edwards flip that he did after the game, so he can fit just about any system pretty well.”
The coach added that Rogers is a true student of the game and spends extra time around the football facility - something that’s not usual among high school football players.
“He’s a kid that’s real knowledgeable of the game. That’s one aspect that you can’t teach - a kid that studies and really pays attention to the game,” said the coach. “He’s a real smart kid and gets everybody lined up, knowing the coverage’s and where he’s supposed to be.”
Rogers began starting at Amite High School as a ninth grader, and because of his strength and intensity, Foster played him at defensive end until midway through his sophomore season of 2009.
“He’s only played [linebacker] about a year and a half, and that’s the impressive part - that he’s had so much success playing [linebacker] in such a short time,” said Foster.
And the coach feels that Rogers’ experience up front has helped him tremendously in rushing the passer.
“When he rushes the passer, most of the time we send him on a-gap blitzes,” said Foster. “He’s able to use his defensive line hand stuff real well to get rid of those guys, and that makes a big difference.”
Last season, Rogers played both ways for Amite, serving as a fullback on offense, and Foster said, “He’s a hell of a lead blocker.”
“He’s a throwback player. He hated to come off the field,” said the coach. “When we took him off for special teams, he got fighting mad, and that’s the kind of kid you want to go to war with.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Rogers scored 12 rushing touchdowns, but his calling remains on the defensive side where he made 140 tackles, 14 sacks and an interception last year.
In the early stages of the recruiting process, only Arkansas has offered Rogers as of yet, but many other BCS Conference schools such as LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Alabama have shown interest.
Rogers said he has been in discussions with LSU head coach Les Miles and defensive coordinator John Chavis, and he is looking forward to attending an LSU camp in the near future.
“The last time I was up there [at LSU], [the coaches] were telling me they really liked me, and they want me to come to their camp, and if I perform well at their camp, they’re going to offer me,” said Rogers. “They told me that I’m like a downhill linebacker that they would like to have in the middle.”
The prospect added he would like to attend three or four camps prior to next season, with LSU and Arkansas being ones he will definitely attend.
Rogers hasn’t decided where else he would like to attend a camp yet, but he said he would like to play for a big conference school or a championship contender, “because I want to go against the best,” he said.
“I want to play early, but I want to learn a system before I go out there,” said Rogers. “I want to know the defense like the back of my hand.”
Rogers said he would likely make his decision right after the end of his senior football season.