Four-star offensive line commit Khaliel Rodgers (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) had a stellar showing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week in San Antonio, Texas, proving himself against some of the best competition in the country. He spoke to WeAreSC about the experience:
WeAreSC: There’s been a lot of talk about your showing in Texas. How would you assess your performance?
Rodgers: Every critic and every person that looked at me and evaluated me thought I did excellent. I think I did well. I think I really established myself as the top guard in the nation. I did well against everybody that was there.
WeAreSC: You made the key block on Derrick Henry’s touchdown run in the first half, pushing your defender into the end zone. Talk us through that play.
Rodgers: We had to score a touchdown. We had to. Our defense was shutting down the West, so we definitely had to come back with something. Once we got in the red zone, we had nothing else on our minds but to score.
WeAreSC: What was your favorite part about the bowl week experience?
Rodgers: Being there with all the nation’s top players for a whole week was a lot of fun.
WeAreSC: There were 12 other USC commits in San Antonio. Who did you bond with?
Rodgers: Nico Falah. He’s like my bro now. We’re real close. But all of us spent time together. Many of the guys are from the West Coast, so we all hung out together. We had fun.
WeAreSC: Which defensive lineman impressed you the most or gave you the toughest time?
Rodgers: Isaiah Golden. He’s committed to Texas A&M. He was the best defensive tackle there that I went against.
WeAreSC: Another guy you went against was top USC target Eddie Vanderdoes. What was your general reaction to his recent decommitment?
Rodgers: I talked to him a little bit and asked him why he decommitted. He said it just wasn’t right that he was still looking at other schools, so why be committed to one school if you’re still looking at others? But we definitely talked. He’s still considering USC, so we’ll see how things go. I think we’ll end up at No. 1 in the recruiting class rankings again, just because of the people that we’ve added and the people that are still looking at us. We added Leon McQuay, a great athlete. I think we’ll end up with the best class.
WeAreSC: You mentioned Nico earlier. In your opinion, will he stick with his commitment to the Trojans?
Rodgers: I think he’ll stay committed all the way. People, especially Washington, are just showing him a lot of love, so he’s definitely looking. But he’s still committed at heart.
WeAreSC: Any other schools still showing you love?
Rodgers: Yep. Florida State is showing me heavy love right now, more than anybody else. But I’m not really looking at them. Not at all.
WeAreSC: Your official visit to USC is coming up on Jan. 18. What are you most excited about?
Rodgers: I want to get the family feel with all of my teammates. I’m looking forward to being around them more. I’m used to all of the coaches. Right after the Army game I went to the hotel and the USC coaches -- Coach (Ed) Orgeron, Coach (James) Cregg, Coach (Kennedy) Polamalu, Coach (Tee) Martin and others -- were there for a couple of hours. I’ve been around them most of the time, now I want to be around my future teammates.