Tennessee fans might have do a double take if they see Amari Rodgers in Neyland Stadium on Saturday. They might think an NFL star is in attendance.
Rodgers, who told SEC Country he will visit Tennessee this weekend, could be confused for former LSU standout and New York Giants receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr. That’s by design.
“I admire Odell Beckham,” the 4-star receiver from Knoxville Catholic (Tenn.) said. “Almost every night before I go to sleep, I watch his highlights. I try to be like him as much as I can in my game. I try to high-point the ball and catch everything that comes my way and just be a great route runner like he is.”
Rodgers, who committed to Southern California in June, has even bleached the tips of his hair to look more like Beckham. The similarities don’t stop there. They’re even more apparent on the field.
“If you had to compare him to an NFL player, it would be Odell Beckham,” Catholic coach Steve Matthews said.
Rodgers certainly has great speed. Matthews said the 5-foot-10, 195-pounder was timed at a 4.39-second in the 40-yard dash this summer. Rodgers said he’s even faster now.
“I think I’ve improved from last year a lot, being able to high-point the ball and my speed (has improved),” he said.
Said Matthews, “He can really run and makes a ton of acrobatic catches..He’s exceptionally quick getting in and out of his breaks. He gets good separation from the defender. One of the things that makes him special is he’s so good with the ball in the air. He’s able to go up and get some long balls – great jumping ability and great hands.”
Rodgers has 21 touchdowns this season. Matthews said Rodgers has 41 receptions for approximately 1,400 yards and 35 carries for approximately 400 yards. He has also returned a kick and a punt for a touchdown.
Beckham is known for his highlight-worthy receptions, often with one hand. Rodgers is working on that too. Matthews said his star receiver regularly practices Beckham-like, one-handed catches after practice.
Rodgers is the No. 37 receiver in the nation and the No. 8 prospect in Tennessee.