As he does almost every year, Na’Ty Rodgers, a rising senior at McDonough, spent about a month this summer with his father, Tyrone, in California. This time, the 6-foot-5, 278-pound tackle used the extended stay to continue figuring out his college future, sorting through his more than 25 scholarship offers.
Rodgers made unofficial visits to UCLA, USC and Washington and talked extensively with Tyrone, a former defensive lineman at Washington who played three NFL seasons with Seattle Seahawks, about the recruiting process.
As he prepares to start his senior season, Rodgers has narrowed his list of suitors to the five schools that he plans to take official visits to this fall — Maryland, South Carolina, Arkansas, Washington and Oklahoma.
“This is the fun part of the process,” said Rodgers, who is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com. “All the hard work is pretty much over, and now I just have to take my time and make the right decision.”
The Southern Maryland Athletic Conference has rarely produced recruits with as much national interest as Rodgers, but according to Coach Luke Ethington, the lineman began attracting attention for his work on the Rams’ run to the 2010 Maryland 2A state title.
At the time, college coaches examined that game tape to look at then-senior tackle Jamal Price, who is now a rising sophomore at New Mexico, and came away excited about the then-sophomore playing next to Price. After Rodgers backed up that initial interest with a string of strong performances on the camp circuit, the major college offers began to pour in.
With Good Counsel cornerback Kendall Fuller’s commitment to Virginia Tech over the weekend, Rodgers might be the most sought-after player in the area for the Class of 2013 who has not yet offered an oral commitment.
Rodgers has made unofficial visits to three of the schools on his short list, and he said he’s excited to check out Arkansas and Oklahoma for the first time this fall. His father began his college career at Oklahoma playing under Coach Barry Switzer before transferring to Washington where he helped the Huskies win a share of the national title in 1991.
Rodgers said his father has urged him to choose based on where he feels most comfortable. He plans to make his oral commitment after making all five visits, which he said will give him plenty of time to make the right decision.
Over time, “schools really show their true colors,” said Rodgers, who hopes to major in architectural engineering or business management. “It’s easy to recruit a kid for a week and a half or send him a letter every two weeks, but if they stay on your for your entire high school career that shows you something right there.”
In other McDonough recruiting news, defensive back Alonte Dunn and wide receiver James Harrell, both rising seniors, orally committed to Howard within the past two weeks, according to Ethington. Rising senior linebacker Christian Cole — rated a two-star recruits by Rivals.com — currently has offers from Buffalo and Howard and hopes to add more.