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Former UNLV QB returns to LV for Shrine Game

A lot has changed since Armani Rogers’ most recent appearance on a football field in Las Vegas.

Allegiant Stadium was being completed, UNLV played at Sam Boyd Stadium, and Rogers was still a quarterback.

“It’s like a full-life circle, starting in Vegas and finishing up in this new facility,” Rogers said.

On Thursday, Rogers takes part in the East-West Shrine Bowl at Allegiant Stadium, the postseason all-star game for prospects preparing to jump to the NFL.

This is the first time Las Vegas has hosted the event, which is now part of the festivities surrounding the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl, being held at Allegiant Stadiumon Sunday.

For Rogers, the former UNLV quarterback, the game is a poetic finish to his college career.

Arriving in 2017, Rogers played three seasons for the Rebels. He appeared in 21 games, including 18 starts, completed 49.9 percent of his passes and tossed 18 touchdown passes.

He truly shined when given the opportunity to run the ball though. Rogers rushed for 1,549 yards – a UNLV quarterback rushing record – and 18 touchdowns.

Looking back on his time in Las Vegas, Rogers said it was the relationships he built with his teammates and the city which he appreciated the most.

“I enjoyed everything about it,” he said.

After entering the transfer portal in 2020, Rogers landed at Ohio University, where he played two seasons. His time in the Midwest was highlighted by a 99-yard scoring dash against Buffalo during the 2021 season which broke the record for longest touchdown run by a quarterback in NCAA history.

While he spent his entire NCAA career under center, at the Shrine Bowl, the 6-foot-6 Rogers will play tight end for the first time in his career.

Catching passes and reading defenses have come easy for the former UNLV quarterback, so he’s spent most of this week working on his blocking technique. He also has a newfound appreciation for his former pass-catchers.

“I definitely understand why stuff takes longer than it usually does when it’s drawn up in your head,” Rogers said.

Lucas Krull, the former Pittsburgh and Florida tight end who is also playing in the Shrine Game this week, said Rogers has been full of questions and consistently seeks extra practice as he tries to transition to a new position.

“Moving to this position takes some adjusting,” Krull said. “The technique, the footwork, getting leverage and staying low… he’s already a natural route runner and catcher, but to really take your game to the next level you’ve really got to hone in on the blocking.”

Despite the newness of the position, Rogers has already caught the eyes of coaches and players alike as he continues to adapt. Krull said the former UNLV quarterback’s playmaking ability is already evident.

Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach D’Anton Lynn, who is also the East team’s head coach this week, sees Rogers’ athleticism as a plus.

Lynn believes a year in the weight room and more on-field experience may be enough to help Rogers find a spot on an NFL roster.

In particular, Lynn was impressed with Rogers’ mental processing and football IQ. He cited the impact of other former college quarterbacks like longtime New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas as proof Rogers has a path to the NFL if he puts in the work.

“It’s definitely something he can do,” Lynn said.

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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