High School Football

Why ‘special talent’ Jahari Rogers is headed to SEC to play at Florida instead of Texas

Arlington senior Jahari Rogers enjoyed taking his official visit to the University of Texas in June, just a little over a month after visiting the University of Florida.

His family loved the experience in Austin just as much as he did, but in his mind, he had already made his decision.

The 4-star Arlington cornerback announced his commitment to Florida on July 15. He had made a visit to Texas twice before ever stepping foot in Florida.

“I kind of knew after my official visit. It felt like home and the coaching staff was great. They made it feel like some place I wanted to be,” Rogers said. “I think it was the best fit to help me get better as a player and a place where the coaches could get me to where I wanted to be at the next level.”

It came down to Florida, Texas and Georgia.

Rogers received 31 offers, including 22 from a Power Five school.

“So proud of him. He handled the college recruiting process as well as any kid that we’ve ever had,” Arlington coach Scott Peach said. “He got a lot of offers and probably more if they knew they had a shot at Jahari, but he always stayed positive and showed respect toward every staff that came through here.”

While Rogers is a 4-star cornerback and ranked as the No. 8 CB in the nation, according to 247Sports, he had never played one snap at corner at the varsity level.

Last season, Rogers played quarterback and was great at it. He accounted for 3,500 total yards and 46 touchdowns. He was named District 4-6A MVP and was a member of the all-area offensive team.

But Rogers was still getting offered as a defensive player, so he made the decision to be a full-time corner this season.

“I played QB to make the team better,” he said. “But I need to work on my technique if I want to get better at the next level. It was a hard decision at the time, but I kind of knew what I wanted to do.

“It’s going to be exciting to see what I can do. I think I’m going to dominate because that’s just how confident I am. I’m going to let my athletic ability take over and go as far as I can.”

Jahari Rogers is ‘a special talent’

Despite not playing a single down, district coaches already know how special Rogers can be.

“He’s a special talent. Watching him on film and seeing him in person you know he is a dynamic player,” Sam Houston coach Anthony Criss said. “He has great athletic ability and you can see he’s going to be a really good DB in college and beyond. I think he’s a potential NFL talent.”

“His athleticism is off the charts,” added Paschal coach Chris James. “ Talented kids like him should have no problem playing other positions.”

Said Bowie coach Danny DeArman, “those special players are the ones that as a coach you must identify on every snap schematically. He is that guy.”

Aside from being the eighth-best corner in the country, 247Sports also ranks Rogers No. 20 overall in Texas and No. 135 nationally among the 2020 class.

He’s the second-best 2020 corner from the state, behind Timberview’s Jalen Kimber.

“When you have an undefeated district team and Jahari is your QB and district MVP, there is nothing easy about the decision to move him,” Peach said. “However, I think I owed it to him to prove he can play the position.

“His future is at defensive back and for him, he wanted to know if he can measure up to the next level. He kept hearing things like ‘He has a scholarship even though he doesn’t play the position,’ so he has a chip on his shoulder and wanted to prove it to people.”

SEC country

Rogers couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play in the SEC.

“That was a big part of it. Playing in the SEC is second to none” he said. “They have the best athletes so why wouldn’t you want to play in the SEC. That part was a no-brainer.”

He’s one of 18 players from 2020 to commit to Florida. Two are from Texas.

“I think he made a great choice,” Peach said. “It came down to Texas and Florida, and they both have great programs. Both are on the upswing and going in the right direction. I think the biggest thing was seeing the field or not right away and he felt most comfortable about Florida.”

Rogers’ plan is to enroll early in January and learn the system as soon as possible.

He said every college football hopeful should take this route.

“I wanted to do that since last year. I started to see others do it and I think it’s just best for me especially since I’m switching positions,” he said. “I wanted to go early and get used to the lifestyle.

“It’s the best decision. You get to create those early bonds with your teammates and coaches as a young player before the season actually starts. It’s hard to come in as a freshman in the summer and expect to play, but you have a better chance if you learn the culture and get down the chemistry in the spring.”

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.