Michigan State legend Charles Rogers set prototype for college’s game-breaking receiver

first_imgWe’ve become desensitized to that with how many talented receivers there are, but some talents are timeless. For a contemporary comparison, Rogers’ numbers look a lot like Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. And if you look back at the highlights, those two aren’t that different in play style. Rogers would fit right in with today’s game, and he would have even better numbers.Rogers was the kind of player who made you jump out of your seat and say, “I can’t believe he did that.”That is a legacy worth remembering with a life gone too soon. MORE: Spartan standout Charles Rogers dies at 38In the 2001 and ’02 seasons, Rogers totaled 135 catches for 2,821 yards — an amazing 20.9 yards per catch — and 27 touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns stand out more than the rest, and both came against Notre Dame.On Sept. 22, 2001 — the Spartans’ first game since the Sept. 11 attacks, Rogers took a tunnel screen from quarterback Ryan Van Dyke, put on a spin move and ran 47 yards for the game-winning touchdown in a 17-10 victory at Notre Dame Stadium. The following year, he made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone where he planted one foot down to give the Spartans a 17-14 lead with 1:45 remaining. Notre Dame won 21-17, but Rogers’ acrobatic catch is what everyone remembers about the game.Those catches put Rogers in your living room, and he lived up to his billing in college. He caught at least one touchdown in 17 of 23 games and had 11 games with 100 yards or more. That’s why he finished the 2002 season as a unanimous All-American and Biletnikoff winner before becoming the No. 2 pick by the Detroit Lions in 2003 NFL Draft. His professional career didn’t work out, and that’s part of the reason history has cheated Rogers’ legacy as a football player.Rogers followed Marshall’s Randy Moss — who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1997 — and Pitt’s Larry Fitzgerald — who finished second in 2003. In a sense, Rogers was part of a rush by NFL teams to find the next Moss.Look at the receivers, other than Rogers, drafted in the top five since Moss: That list includes Florida State’s Peter Warrick (No. 4, 2000), Miami’s Andre Johnson (No. 3, 2003), Fitzgerald (No. 3, 2004), Michigan’s Braylon Edwards (No. 3, 2005), Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson (No. 2, 2007), Georgia’s A.J. Green (No. 4, 2011), Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon (No. 5, 2012), Clemson’s Sammy Watkins (No. 4, 2014), Alabama’s Amari Cooper (No. 4, 2015) and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis (No. 5, 2017).There are Hall of Famers and busts on that list, but all of them share a common bond. They left their respective college fan bases with the standard of how to play the position. Chances are they are a lot of fans’ favorite player of all time. Seriously, what Michigan State fan hasn’t reenacted a Rogers catch in the backyard?Everybody might looking for the next Moss, but Rogers looks more like the prototype for today’s receivers. Former Michigan State receiver Charles Rogers died on Monday — shocking news, considering the 2002 Biletnikoff Award winner was just 38 years old.According to the Detroit Free Press, details of Rogers’ death weren’t immediately known, but he had been battling cancer and liver disease. It’s a life tragically cut short. In his death, Rogers leaves behind an enduring-yet-under-appreciated legacy as a college receiver, considering how prolific he was for the Spartans from 2000-02.last_img

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