July 13, 2010

Long snapper heading to Big East

As little attention as kickers, punters, centers, fullbacks, and players at less glamorous positions receive, perhaps no position in the game of football is as overlooked as that of long snapper.

Long snappers often have a thankless job, and they are the types of players that have done their job well if television announcers make it through an entire game without calling their names.

Seldom do colleges extend offers to players to exclusively serve as long snappers, but Syracuse made the position a priority for the Class of 2011 not long ago.

Sam Rodgers, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound long snapper from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, has committed to the Orange, shortly after receiving a scholarship offer.

"I committed today around 12 noon," Rodgers said on Tuesday evening.

"I had sent my film down to them and I heard through my coach Dan Walker that they were having a camp. It was a special teams camp and they wanted me to come up. They said they were looking to offer a scholarship to a long snapper.

"At the beginning of the camp they had us all in the film room and a Syracuse assistant coach told us that from this camp they're going to pick a long snapper. He told us that our first snap is going to be at Southern California as a freshman. He was a special teams coach in the NFL so he knows the drill.

"They said they offer 40 scholarships to offensive players and 40 scholarships to defensive players, so that leaves five scholarships for specialists."

One day after the camp the Syracuse coaches sent an e-mail to Rodgers letting him know that they had narrowed their focus to him and one other player.

"From there I scheduled a visit to the school to look at the academic side of the whole deal," he said. "That was last Tuesday. Me, my mom and dad went down and looked at the school. I met with a lady in the nutrition (department) because that's what I want to major in. They had everything I needed in terms of academics."

That was all Rodgers needed to see. Shortly after he received word he had a scholarship Rodgers committed.

"There were a lot of schools talking to me," he said. "Ohio State wanted me to go there as a preferred walk-on. UConn showed interest. Penn State sent me some letters since I'm from right here in Happy Valley. The Alabama special teams coach wrote me a letter."

Rodgers said he is a solid verbal commitment for the Orange. He doesn't plan on changing his mind or visiting any other schools. He said Syracuse recruited him to start as their long snapper during his true freshman season.

He is the Orange's 9th commitment from the Class of 2011, and the second specialist. Jonathan Fisher, a punter, committed to Syracuse last month.

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