By LARRY VAUGHT
Five-star defensive lineman Justin Rogers is the highest rated recruit — he’s a top 20 player nationally — that coach Mark Stoops has signed at UK but he doesn’t want fans thinking he has a superstar mentality.
“If you do see me, just come up to me and talk to me. Don’t be shy and not come up to me,” said Rogers. “I am fan friendly. Come up to me any time and I will talk to you.
“I love interacting with fans. They cane come and get photo or I will sign anything. That is my personality. I am friendly person. People think I am this big, mean guy but I am friendly.”
Or at least off the field the 6-3, 310-pound Oak Park, Mich., standout is. On the field, he’s so dynamic that Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Tennessee were his other potential college choice after he narrowed down his big list of offers. However, his first scholarship offer came from Kentucky when he was in the eighth grade and he never forgot that.
Stoops says he’s a special player but also a special person.
“Every time we see him, whether he’s on campus or when I got a chance to go visit him, he’s one of those guys that puts a smile on your face; he affects other people in such a positive way,” Stoops said. “For such a highly ranked player, he was a joy to recruit. And it says a lot about him and his character.”
Once Rogers finished his high school classes he offered to do media interviews. Someone on Twitter suggested he just do a Zoom conference rather than have to do individual interviews.
“That’s not fair to them. They deserve to each have the own individual quality time with me to really get to know me and that is the same way I feel about getting to know each interviewer,” Rogers replied on Twitter. “I want to build a REAL relationship with each one.”
After I reached out to him, he told me when he would call in a few days and he called at exactly the time he said he would.
“That’s just the way I was raised,” he said when I complimented him for being so prompt.