Senior wide receiver Darreus Rogers is having a stellar campaign thus far, ranking second on the team with 19 receptions. The Daily Trojan sat down with him to talk about his life, football and other random factoids.
Q: How do you feel about playing your final games in the Coliseum as a senior?
A: I feel good. I’m ready to go out and showcase for my last time.
Q: What’s the mood been like in the locker room after a disappointing start to the season?
A: Basically the guys are more focused and ready to play. We just have a chip on our shoulder right now and we are trying to do the best we can for Coach Helton and the team.
Q: You’ve learned from some great receivers such as Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor. Now that you’re a senior, how do you view your role as a leader?
A: Basically just teaching the young guys, because once we leave, it’s up to them. It’s their team and they gotta come out and represent USC and do it the way we did it.
Q: You’ve played under three head coaches in four years. Do you feel like the program is finally in a place of stability as you prepare to exit?
A: Yeah I can say that. Coach Helton is a great guy, great coach and a player’s coach. Everyone loves him: players, fans and it takes time to get a program rolling. I feel like right now we are still trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, and once we get it all rolling, everything is going to be great.
Q: What has it been like having to adjust to a new philosophy nearly every year of your career?
A: It’s been a challenge, but it shows you that I can adjust to any system. It’s a lot of hard work going under three head coaches and basically trying to learn each playbook, but once I get the concept down, it becomes easy. It’s the same thing as playing anywhere else; you just have to work hard and focus on what you gotta do, and everything falls into place.
Q: As a receiver how do you feel about the switch from Max Browne to Sam Darnold?
A: Max Browne is a great player and a great guy. Sam Darnold is too. It wasn’t my decision; it was the coach’s decision. But I feel like we gotta do what’s best for the team, and you know Sam Darnold has done a great job.
Q: You’re currently in the midst of your best statistical year. What’s been the key to your play this season?
A: Just going out and having more fun. Not thinking so much. My last year, not going out there and thinking about what’s next, just living in the moment every time and just focusing game by game. Just enjoying the moment, because these are moments I can never get back, so I just go out there and try not to think about it too much and just play my game.
Q: What did it mean for you to attend USC and play the last four years close to your hometown (Compton, CA)?
A: It means a lot. I feel like I would be doing something wrong if I didn’t come to my hometown school. Playing for USC is a blessing for me and my family. It’s close to home, so my family can come to all my games, because probably once I leave USC, ain’t no telling where I’m gonna go from there. It’s an honor to play at this school, all of the traditions and things like that. I take it very seriously.
Q: Speaking of your hometown, what was your environment like growing up?
A: Not so much of the nice neighborhoods, a lot of gangs going on. It was up to me to choose my path. And I chose to go to school, go to class and get good grades so that I could come to a four-year college, get a degree and hopefully get my family out of here and go somewhere where everything is more happy and things are better.
Q: Who were the people that influenced you to follow that path?
A: My mom, my dad, a couple of my uncles and my siblings. I just try to do it for them. My sister has her degree from Fresno State, and I’m trying to follow in her footsteps. I’d be the second one in my family to get their degree. It’s just something my mom preaches a lot to us, and she’s very happy for me.
Q: How has your upbringing influenced you as both a person and a player?
A: I just try to keep a positive vibe all the time, a great attitude. I feel thankful that I’m here everyday: to go to school, to play football for USC and to be around great people like my teammates. Stay out of trouble and things like that. Take advantage of it everyday, and I just thank God that I’m still alive and doing something that I love to do.
Q: Looking back, what’s been your favorite memory as a Trojan?
A: I would have to say catching the Hail Mary pass my sophomore year in the Coliseum against Oregon State. Catching a Hail Mary is something that doesn’t happen very often, and me being able to say I caught one in the Coliseum is something that I can keep forever. It was just an amazing moment. Plus we won the game. I was just stoked that that happened. A lot of people can’t say they’ve caught a Hail Mary in the Coliseum.
Favorite Musical Artist — Big Sean
Favorite Color — Blue
Sport you would play if not football — Basketball
Favorite Video Game — Madden and NBA 2K
Favorite Show on Netflix — Last Chance U
Ideal Superpower — Invisibility
Rather beat UCLA or Notre Dame — UCLA
Celebrity Crush — Jennifer Lopez
Funniest Teammate — JuJu Smith-Schuster