Arlington had its best season in five years after the Colts went 10-3 and made an appearance in the regional round last season.
The Colts were led under center by D’Montae Davis, who had the ability to pass in the pocket or scramble and pick up the first down with his feet.
Davis was voted offensive MVP of the district, but he graduated and signed with Southwestern Oklahoma State.
That’s where Jahari Rogers comes into the picture.
“I knew throughout the season that this year was going to be my year,” Rogers said. “I had talked to coach Scott Peach and he was real cool about it. He said that this was my team and I’m just ready for the season. I can’t wait to see what I’m going to do this year.”
Rogers, a 2020 athlete, previously played the position as a freshman on the junior varsity team and moved up to receiver last year.
“I have been very impressed with Jahari,” Peach said. “He’s the ultimate competitor and plays with a tremendous amount of passion. We felt like he could be the guy at QB, but we didn’t know for sure until we put him there. The team has rallied around him because he’s a leader.”
The Colts finished third in district with a 5-2 record last season. They’re predicted to finish second, but first in Division II this year, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
“I’m impressed with the culture of our coaching staff and football team,” Peach said. “Our best football players are the hardest workers and because of that we have a high plateau on how the season will go. We still have a sour taste from the third round last year, but a lot of those kids are back so we’re excited for this year.”
What’s going for the Colts in 2018? They have 13 starters returning and 43 overall. They also have 41 seniors this season.
“We have a really good team coming back,” Rogers said. “All our skill players on offense are back and we all had a great off-season. We’ll be a dynamic and fast team.”
Rogers recorded 26 catches for 300 yards and five touchdowns last season.
He said the transition back to quarterback has been challenging, but he’s constantly working with his teammates.
“It was a learning process in the spring,” Rogers said. “It’s a lot different playing quarterback at the JV level to varsity. I needed to learn from the coaches and get my timing down with my receivers.”
“He’s the fastest one at Arlington High,” Peach added. “We’re excited to see his speed and explosiveness. He sees the game well and throws a great football. He took a year off, but it came back to him quickly and he’ll be a real asset for us at quarterback.”
One receiver that should make Rogers’ life easier is Texas Tech commitment Trey Cleveland, a three-star WR. The two have known each other for nearly a decade.
“Jahari and I played on the same little league team, but our relationship has always been strong,” Cleveland said. “He’s my little brother and I trust him a lot.”
Cleveland recorded 600 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017.
“He’s an athlete and can adjust to anything at any position,” Cleveland said. “We throw a lot after practice to get that chemistry down. We’re about to shock a lot of people in the pass game this year.”
While Rogers doesn’t hold a single offer, he’s still getting interest from in-state programs.
He visited TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas State this summer, just to name a few. Rogers also went to camps at Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana Tech.
“It was fun exploring all the different schools and different places, and recruiting has gone well,” Rogers said. “Georgia and TCU have been the best schools so far that I’ve visited. Those camps were great and it was awesome talking to those coaching staffs.”
The Colts start the fall season on Aug. 13. Their season opener is Aug. 31 at Dallas Jesuit. They also play Byron Nelson and Mesquite Horn before beginning district play.
Here’s what Dave Campbell’s Texas Football had to say: Rogers, a dynamic runner, started all 13games at receiver last year and moves to quarterback to pilot the spread offense. Cleveland is a physical target out wide and the Colts have several capable runners with Zander Benson (382 yards rushing, 8 TDs) and Quaklon Fore returning. The defense is led by three-year starter Kyron White and at linebacker where the McDonald twins (X’Zavion and A’Tavion) combined for 259 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 INTs last year.
White, a 3-star safety, committed to San Diego State. Brian DeClercq is Arlington’s top returning defensive end.
“We made a goal of reaching state in the spring. It was one of our pillars this season,” Rogers said. “We wanted to leave a legacy for future generations and be the best team to come out of Arlington.”