Although Khaliel Rodgers's skill set was not recognized early in the
process, he is currently ranked as the second best offensive guard in the
nation. The Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy standout was underrated at
first because not many people knew about him but once scouts saw his film and
saw him in camps, they knew he was the real deal.
"I felt that I was overlooked when I first started my career until I started
taking down high profile athletes and people started breaking down my film,"
said the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Rodgers. "People started respecting me and
understanding that I'm one of the best guards in the nation. I still have that
chip on my shoulder being from a state where not a lot of D-1 players come from
and I wear that on my sleeve. I definitely have to show that I can represent my
state and that we have players."
Having a chip on his shoulder has helped Rodgers propel himself to be named a
U.S. Army All-American.
"It was definitely something I looked forward to in my high school career," he
said. "When I was a freshman one of my goals was to be a U.S. Army All-American.
Everywhere I go, people know that I'm a U.S. Army All-American. It's a very
prestigious game and a lot of NFL players played in it. I'm very blessed and
honored to be in it.
"My teammate, Kenny Bigelow and I are the first two to be U.S. Army
All-Americans from Delaware," said Rodgers. "For us to be representing our
state, it is very humbling. We feel great about representing our state and
Maryland at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl."
Rodgers went to a lot of camps in the offseason and played against many good
players, but nothing like what he is going to face in San Antonio.
"It's kind of like the Dream Team, a lot of great players coming together and
competing," he explained. "There's definitely going to be tough competition down
there and I'm looking forward to being one of the best linemen they've ever had
down there. We might have some laughs but when it comes to what happens on the
field, it's a whole other story."
Rodgers and his teammates have had an unusual season. Last year they attended
Bear (Del.) Red Lion Christian Academy but, after the school de-emphasized
football, Rodgers and his teammates transferred to brand new Elkton (Md.)
Eastern Christian Academy. One of the problems with the new school was that the
Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association had not sanctioned it.
Many schools canceled their schedule games with Eastern Christian Academy
because they could be ruled ineligible for the playoffs if they took to the
field with an unsanctioned team.
Rodgers expressed his feelings about the difficulty of this season.
"The season we've had hasn't really affected the seniors," said Rodgers. "We all
feel for the lower classmen. They know the cost and they know that if they
persevere that people will come just they did for us. It has been hard on us but
we just stay focused and treat every week like it is a game week. We aren't
looking at it as a negative, we just keep trying to get better."