The Memphis University School standout, who was a Mr. Football candidate alongside Miami (Fla.) signee Cornelius Elder and Florida State signee Jalen Ramsey, put pen to paper on a National Letter of Intent to cement his future home on Rocky Top last November.
"Oh, it definitely does," Rodgers told InsideTennessee. "There's a lot of similarities in the games. I take my leadership that I try to have on the football field to baseball on the infield at shortstop, try to be the captain at everything. It definitely helps me. I have more confidence in everything I do and just a lot more leadership."
All it took was a weekend on Rocky Top and some time with Serrano and the assistant coaches in early November to sway Rodgers' mind.
"Honestly, when I went in there and met with them on my visit, they took me around campus," said Rodgers, who took in the Tennessee-Troy football game at Neyland Stadium. "I'd be a fool to say no. Everything about it, it was almost like a dream. They sold it well. I fell in love with the coaching staff, the facilities, the campus. I have a bunch of friends who go there — just the perfect fit."
He was hosted by current Vol freshmen Heath Loyd and A.J. Simcox.
Since that winter weekend, Rodgers' friendship with other future Vols has grown. Farragut (Tenn.) High center fielder Cameron Strickland made the trek to Cookeville to see Rodgers play in the TSSAA Division II Class AA the state championship only weeks after they both signed.
Rodgers completed 20 of 37 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown and one interception in a 31-14 loss to a loaded Ensworth squad with talent like Rico McGraw and Michael Sawyers (both have Tennessee offers).
"We're all getting pretty tight. So, it's pretty awesome," said Rodgers, who speaks with Farragut pitcher Kyle Serrano daily.
As a sophomore, playing mostly shortstop and pitcher, Rodgers carried a .431 batting average and won 7 of 9 games on the mound. His junior season, he batted .344 with five home runs and an 8-2 record on the hill.
|Rodgers was a finalist for the TSSAA Division II Class AA Mr. Football award as the Memphis University School quarterback.|
"It's awesome," Rodgers said of playing with fellow Owls in college. "Jason's a great dude; I played with him as a sophomore. It's just a great thing."
He says he can't wait to suit up and take the field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville. He played there last summer for Dulins Dodgers.
"On my official visit, they had been playing fall ball. So, we went on the field and I saw it kind of toward its best. It was just unbelievable — the view, the stands, the underneath facilities, everything. It was just great," said Rodgers, who will likely be a second or third baseman on the Southeastern Conference level.
Under the leadership of Serrano, recruiting coordinator Bill Mosiello and associate head coach Greg Bergeron, the Memphis product is quite confident the train on Rocky Top will be back on the tracks soon.
"We do," Rodgers said. "The 2012 class is very confident. They've got a lot of great players, great dudes, great attitudes. They've really bought in already from what coach Bergie and coach Mo tell me. Our class is just the same. We've got about 10 guys in our class. We're not the biggest class. We're buying in, and we're ready to get Tennessee baseball turned back around."
Presently, Rodgers is the lone member of Team Tennessee that competed, went undefeated and won the 2012 Jr. Sunbelt Classic in McAlester, Okla., last summer to commit to the Big Orange. He plans to carry that momentum over to the prep level later this month.
"I can't wait," he said. "Three straight second places (for MUS at state), along with second place (in football). I couldn't be more excited. I've got more confidence now that I'm committed and signed. I just feel renewed."
In the Division II Class AA West Region tournament, MUS beat Christian Brothers 12-2 on Wednesday. Plunkett picked up his third win on the mound. Rodgers smacked his sixth and seventh home runs.
After coming up short repeatedly at the BlueCross Spring Fling, the Owls plan to finish the fight and bring home a TSSAA state championship. Last year, Battle Ground Academy defeated them 10-5 in the state opener and again in the final 5-3.
This year's tourney gets underway on May 21.