4-star Cornerback Khamauri Rogers, head coach Marcus Rogers talk the recruitment of the state’s No. 1 player
OXFORD, Miss. — Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector writes, “The mystery of human destiny is that we are fated, but that we have the freedom to fulfill or not fulfill our fate: realization of our fated destiny depends on us.”
Some would say our destiny is a matter of choice, not chance. I say it comes down to a little bit of both, and that the difference between reality and dreams ultimately depends on how one chooses to set things into motion.
In Lexington, Mississippi, Holmes County Central High School standout Khamauri Rogers is a talent shining as brightly as the sun on the Mississippi delta. His skill and hard work are setting things into motion to fulfill his football destiny.
Although Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and staff have shown they are willing — and very capable — of finding talent all across the country, this is one time they don’t have to venture too far from their own backyard.
Rogers is the No. 1 player in the state of Mississippi in the Class of 2022. The 4-star cornerback was committed to LSU; however, as the storyline of recruiting often goes — and to the excitement of many — Rogers is back on the board.
On March 4, he announced his top ten schools (in no particular order): Miami, A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Central Florida, LSU and Ole Miss.
— †Khamauri Rogers (@Khamauri1k) March 4, 2021
The No. 7 cornerback in the nation, as ranked by 247Sports, had a solid season with 30 tackles, three pass breakups, and two interceptions on defense, while notching 17 receptions, 328 yards and six touchdowns on offense in eight games.
Top247 CB Khamauri Rogers in coverage. pic.twitter.com/v8yZMbVnQt
— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) January 24, 2021
Rogers’ success is a family affair as his father, Marcus Rogers, is also his head coach at Holmes County Central High. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Khamauri and Coach Rogers to talk about recruiting and just what could make Oxford his future home.
A visit with Coach Marcus Rogers
Rebel Walk: Can you tell our readers about your football background?
Coach Rogers: I was born and raised in Memphis, TN to a head football coach and Principal for a father; therefore, I was pretty much destined to be a coach.
My career started as the WR/TE Coach at Jackson State University for 2 years, and currently I am in my 18th year as a high school coach.
Rebel Walk: What is your football philosophy?
Coach Rogers: My football philosophy is simple: I’m going to put the best players in the best positions to achieve optimal results at a very efficient pace.
Rebel Walk: What has been the biggest obstacle you as a coach, along with your team, have faced during this season with respect to navigating through the pandemic?
Coach Rogers: The biggest obstacle was making sure my guys believed in our end goal, which was a state championship. Therefore, they had to have self-control and be more responsible due to the virus.
Rebel Walk: You play a unique role as you are not just the Head Coach to one of the top cornerbacks in the country and in the state of Mississippi, but you are also his dad. How do you balance and handle that during your son’s recruitment process, and how has playing both roles helped him through a very different time in recruiting?
Coach Rogers: It’s really a plus because I have so many relationships with the coaches on the next level. He’s blessed to have me to navigate through all the rhetoric in recruiting, but most of all the coaches know that they have to come at me with a different game plan which they may not have to with a normal parent.
Rebel Walk: There have been so many limitations on recruiting due to the pandemic and schools have had to build nontraditional relationships. From the schools that have shown interest in Khamauri, what has stood out about their approach — both from a parent’s and coach’s perspective?
Coach Rogers: Hasn’t much changed for Khamauri’s recruitment because with me being a coach we stayed in constant contact with the schools that we felt like would be there at the end of this process. Also we have done more Zoom visits than normal, but we still got a chance to go to some on-campus games this past season.
Rebel Walk: When was that moment you knew Khamauri had something unique that would make him thrive at the next level?
Coach Rogers: He’s been playing football since he was five years old, but his 8th grade year he played 7-on-7 with the Mississippi Grind. The team was a Who’s Who list of talent (five guys were Under Armor All-Americans), and he was only 13 years old.
He was able to practice against the best competition, and then they had some injuries during the season and he ended up starting for the Gray team by the end of the season. He took care of business, showed me he had what it took mentally to play the position and the rest is history.
Rebel Walk: What has been one of the best plays you have seen him make?
Coach Rogers: It was vs. Vicksburg this past season. We threw him a deep ball and there were two guys from the opposing team already settled under the ball. They both jumped, and then all you saw was some red gloves jump over both of the players to score a TD. It definitely should’ve made Sportscenter.
Rebel Walk: What program dynamic do you see Khamauri finding the most success in for his skill set?
Coach Rogers: We are in the process of narrowing everything down and his skillset is one of the five variables I will take into fact when helping him make this decision.
Rebel Walk: There is no question the high level of talent Khamauri possesses and how that translates on the field. What would you say is his ‘x-factor’ that some may overlook?
Coach Rogers: His work ethic is impeccable. He wants to be the best Corner to ever play. A kid with all of that ability that shows up to work with a chip on his shoulder is “LETHAL.”
Rebel Walk: What sort of dynamic could he bring to a program like Ole Miss?
Coach Rogers: Whatever program he decides to join he will bring a work ethic and the wherewithal to lead his team to a National Championship, while achieving Academic All-American and the Thorpe Award.
Rebel Walk: Your team was fortunate to have a season and your athletes were still able to build a film. However, a lot of kids have also had to rely on other ways to still remain relevant in the recruiting process. One such way has been through showcases and 7v7 teams. As both a parent and coach, how do you feel these programs have helped develop these players.
Coach Rogers: I feel like 7 on 7 if organized and structured right is a great tool towards the athletes success. There’s nothing like gaining Reps.
Rebel Walk: What is the top recruiting advice you give to your athletes?
Coach Rogers: Go where you can play and go where you can go and get developed. There can be different advice for different kids; it varies due to skill level.
Rebel Walk: What song is your go-to to set the tone for practice and game day?
Coach Rogers: I’m an innovative coach, I adapt with the times. My kids like to hear Lil Bay and Young Boy. It’s not about me.
A visit with CB Khamauri Rogers
Rebel Walk: What would be your hashtag to describe your football recruitment?
Rebel Walk: You remain one of the nation’s most sought out CBs in the class of 2022. How have you remained grounded and focused on continuing to develop as a player to find ways to become better?
Khamauri: I just try to work out everyday and just get better everyday.
Rebel Walk: What has been the biggest change you have had to adapt to in your recruitment this year to remain motivated and thrive?
Khamauri: When my rankings dropped, it humbled me.
Rebel Walk: What are some of the qualities you want a coach and program to have?
Khamauri:I just want a coach that put DBs in the league.
Rebel Walk: You re-opened your recruitment after a long relationship with LSU. Moving forward, what will play the biggest role in where you choose to play on Saturdays in the future?
Khamauri: A place that feels like home and the best fit.
Rebel Walk: What has it been like not being able to do the traditional recruiting things and how has that changed your recruitment journey?
Khamauri: It has been boring and yes it has changed it because I want to see the new schools that are recruiting me.
Rebel Walk: You have quite a bit of offers across the country at many top Power 5 programs. What would it mean for you as the No. 1 player in the Sip in your class to be able to play at Ole Miss?
Khamauri: Just repping your state sounds like a lot of fun.
Rebel Walk: Miami and Ole Miss are two schools that have you pretty high on the radar. How are the relationships and what has stood out about them during your recruitment?
Khamauri: Our relationships are very similar. We both talk a lot. The only difference is I’ve known (Cornerbacks) Coach (Terrell) Buckley longer than Coach Van Dyke.
Rebel Walk: Who has been the biggest influence in your football journey?
Khamauri: My dad
Rebel Walk: How has it been to be able to share in this journey with your dad who also is your head coach and how does that change the dynamic of how you play?
Khamauri: It changes a lot because he is always on me so I can be great.
Rebel Walk: As the off-season begins for you it only means even more work to put in. Like many athletes aside form the high school workouts you are a part of the Louisiana Bootleggers 7v7. How has playing with that team and those caliber type players helped in your recruitment and elevated your game?
Khamauri: It has elevated my game a lot because I have learned a lot from them.
Rebel Walk: What are the things you enjoy doing outside of football to re-set?
Khamauri: I like playing video games and hanging with my friends and little brother.
Rebel Walk: What is your top advice you give to your athletes during recruitment?
Khamauri: Be patient
Rebel Walk: What is your go-to hype song you listen to during football season?
Khamauri: Anything Nba Youngboy.
The 247 on Khamauri
The Rebels have had their sights set on Rogers since he was in the ninth grade — and now the coveted CB has Ole Miss in his top ten. Rogers, who is on track to graduate in December, is planning to wait until the end of the recruiting process before he makes his decision known.
Follow Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo on Twitter and stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for all the latest on Ole Miss recruiting.