Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Rogers ready to flash smile on game day

September 7, 2001

For a guy with an outgoing personality and a winning smile, sophomore receiver Charles Rogers sure has taken plenty of flak lately from his fellow teammates.

His playful antics in practice - similar to those of actor Chris Tucker - have made him one of the team’s favorite targets to tease.

During Tuesday’s practice, Rogers was spotted playfully frisking junior tailback T.J. Duckett, just like the demonstrative cop Tucker portrayed in the “Rush Hour” movies.

“I never do the high voice,” Rogers said. “Some people just tell me I look like him.”

Senior linebacker Josh Thornhill didn’t hesitate to give Rogers a little razz after practice Wednesday.

“I liked your last movie,” Thornhill chimed amidst the giggles of fellow teammates in the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.

Recognized as one of the nation’s top receivers coming out of high school, Rogers - at 6-foot-4, with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash - is used to having celebrity status.

And the sophomore welcomes it nowadays, since he’s bound to receive more attention after Saturday’s game against Central Michigan - his first as a Spartan.

“I’m ready and I feel like we’re ready as a team,” said Rogers, who was academically ineligible last season after falling three points short of a qualifying score on the ACT. “I’m ready as an individual. It really hasn’t hit me yet, knowing that I’m going to come out the tunnel and be part of the team.”

Rogers, who’s slated to start along with junior BJ Lovett, will be counted on to produce in MSU’s revamped offense that ranked seventh in the league last season.

“We have a lot of good guys that can make plays,” said Rogers of MSU’s receiving corps. “We have them not only in the middle range but down field as well. We’re all looking forward to showing what we can do out there.”

So is sophomore quarterback Jeff Smoker, pegged as Saturday’s starter, who’s flat out giddy about the offense’s potential.

“They (Rogers and Lovett) are going to be able to stretch the ball down the field,” said a smiling Smoker. “That was something we weren’t able to do really well last year. We have a good mix of speedy guys in Herb (Haygood) and taller guys in Charles and BJ, and I think we’ll be able to improve this year.”

Rogers hopes to make an immediate impact.

“I just want to bring a spark to this team, a spark to the offense,” Rogers said. “I want to get us going, get us hyped and let the defense know we’re serious and coming at them.”

The combination of size and speed at the receiver position should help MSU’s offensive provide improved protection. It was common last season - in which MSU gave up 43 sacks - for the group to fight off eight- and nine-man fronts.

“I think any kind of talent at receiver position and any kind of passing game at all alleviates a lot of pressure on the line and the running backs because you’re not able to put nine guys in the box like we did last year,” sophomore center Brian Ottney said.

“There’s no comparison, you have more one on one situations and you don’t have to worry about as many zones and other coverages.”

Rogers should also help improve the MSU’s special teams since he will be returning punts this season.

But perhaps most exciting for Rogers is the opportunity to finally play in a college game in front of his 3-year-old daughter Charnae, and 1-year-old son Charvze.

“They’re both real young and don’t know exactly what’s going on,” Rogers said. “My daughter has seen me play on TV before, and I’ve told her a little bit about games I’ve played. She likes how I catch the ball and run. It will be nice to know that they are both going to be smiling in the stands watching me.”

If he plays as expected, she shouldn’t be the only one smiling.

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