After a promising 2015 campaign, senior wide receiver Darreus Rogers will look to make the most of his final year. Although he did not post eye-popping numbers, he still was a key piece of what was a deep and explosive Trojan offense, catching 28 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
Now, Rogers looks to take on a bigger role and keep the good momentum going from 2015.
Catching two passes for 24 yards in the program’s 55-6 season-opening win over Arkansas State, he showed a little bit of what he could do. Following the opener, he would post 5 catches for 56 yards over his next two contests against Idaho and Stanford.
He did not see any playing time over the next two games, but he did not let that affect his rhythm catching four passes for 34 yards in a 41-31 loss to Notre Dame on October 17. Things began to look up for the Compton, Calif. native, and it appeared he had found his niche in the offense.
However, that did not end up being the case. After the sharp Notre Dame performance, he did not play the following week against Utah, and had a three-catch 16-yard showing against California the week after. Struggling to find playing time against Arizona the week after, he did not receive any passes, and it looked as though he would end the season quietly.
It was at this point that he began to really make a name for himself within the offense as Pac-12 play approached. In a loss to Oregon, he caught five passes (a season-high) for 53 yards and a touchdown, his production one of the only bright spots in a 48-28 loss to Oregon. The following week, he made his catches count against the rival UCLA Bruins, catching two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown as the Trojans came away with a 40-21 victory.
After a solid body of work against Stanford to close out the season, he then put together two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown in the Trojans’ nail-biting 23-21 loss to Wisconsin in the National Funding Holiday Bowl.
What can he bring to the Trojans this year? For one, his leadership will be an asset. Especially with the new coaching staff and new offense, having that senior leadership will be a bonus, offering reassurance and a calming presence to the team. His experience at the receiver position will allow him to help the first-year starter under center, whomever that may be, as USC looks for big production from their talented receiving corp.
Rogers should be able to put up better numbers this season and I think 35 catches for 350 yards and five touchdowns is a solid projection for him in ’16.