Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016 | 2 a.m.
When you are labeled one of the most-coveted recruits in UNLV football history, there is a built-in pressure to live up to the expectations.
For Armani Rogers of Los Angeles, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound dual threat quarterback who easily passes the eye test, that pressure is all part of his job.
“It’s the same pressure as being a quarterback,” said the freshman Rogers, a four-star recruiting prospect. “We always have pressure on our backs. It is natural with the position.”
Juniors Johnny Stanton and Kurt Palandech are competing for the starting position for the Sept. 1 opener against Jackson State, and Rogers is widely considered the quarterback of the future. UNLV coach Tony Sanchez still hasn’t determined if Rogers will redshirt, and while unlikely, there is always the chance Rogers could push the others for immediate playing time.
First, he has to get up to speed with learning the playbook and becoming familiar with the pace of the UNLV offense.
“He is doing a good job,” Sanchez said. “Obviously, you see the physical tools. He’s a big, strong guy who throws the ball well. Now it is getting him to understand a college system. It’s getting him comfortable with the volume of (plays) we have.”
Rogers, who was originally committed to Cal of the Pac-12 Conference, was ranked the nation’s No. 11 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN.
He was the Los Angeles Times’ Offensive MVP, passing for 1,433 yards and 18 touchdowns with just one interception for Hamilton High. He rushed for 431 yards and six touchdowns on 71 carries. As a junior he passed for 28 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
Whether he makes a good or bad throw during practice, Rogers says the other quarterbacks have gone out of their way to help him make the transition to the college game. It’s everything from watching how they run the offense to asking plenty of questions in meetings.
“I’m taking it day-by-day and getting better with the playbook,” he said. “The coaches are helping me. The other quarterbacks are helping me. I love this offense. I’m getting better at it every day.”
That progression could be accelerated on game days.
Rogers, if he redshirts or not, will be on the sideline on game days helping signal in the plays. He’ll wear a headset to hear coaches make play calls.
“This is a dream come true,” he said. “I have been waiting my whole life to be part of (college football)."