Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, Md.) offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers didn’t feel much different about his recruitment than other days when he went to bed Tuesday, but things sure changed overnight.
By the time he awoke, Rodgers had a feeling about USC, so he called Trojans coach Lane Kiffin and committed.
“I just woke up today feeling this was going to be the day,” Rodgers said. “It feels great to be a Trojan. I can’t wait to get over there.”
Rodgers is rated as the No. 2 center in Scout’s 2013 class, but he is heading to USC to play guard.
‘I’ve been playing guard my whole high school career,” he said. “I was mostly recruited as a guard, so I think it fits me perfectly.”
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Rodgers has long liked USC, where teammates Kenny Bigelow and class of 2015 quarterback David Sills are already committed. But he said Bigelow, his close friend, didn’t pressure him to commit.
“It wasn’t really influence. It was insight,” Rodgers said. “With him committing, I had a chance to go out there with him and see what he liked, and I had to see it for myself to see what I liked. I also talked to David Sills and he said I would love it out there, and I went there and did.”
Rodgers visited the campus several times, and each time he glowed about the experience. After committing, Rodgers was glowing again.
“It’s just the tradition,” he said. “The academic part …they have great academics, the coaching staff, it’s a great atmosphere out there. It’s just something about L.A. that I really like.”
Ironically, Rodgers earned the offer from the Trojans recently, and without going to the recent Rising Stars camp. Instead, the Trojans evaluated the talent there, compared it with Rodgers and elected to offer him.
After taking a short time to think it over, Rodgers acted on it.
“I called coach Kiffin and we talked,” Rodgers said. “I told him, ‘I’ve got some good news.’ I told him, ‘I want to be a Trojan.’ He was happy and he just told me when I become a Trojan it’s hard work, to take care of my (school work) and he can’t wait to get me there.”
Rodgers, who wants to major in business, added football wasn’t the only factor in his decision.
“It means after my four years being at USC, I get to live a life of being a USC alumni,” he said. “It’s having connections in my job. With anything I want to do, there will be other people who are USC alumni. It’s just a great feeling to be part of the family.”