By Pat Harty
Your Prep Sports
Charles Rogers has a message for a college football program that needs a healthy, hungry and academically-ready defensive back:
The former Iowa City West star recently learned that he has been granted a medical hardship, giving him a sixth year of eligibility.
Rogers already has graduated from the University of Minnesota, but his Gopher football career was marred by knee injuries. He only played in three games over the past two seasons, all of which came early in the 2015 season.
Minnesota also changed head coaches shortly after the 2016 season, with P.J. Fleck replacing the fired Tracy Claeys.
Rogers decided it was in his best interest to look elsewhere to finish his college football career.
He doesn’t have much time, though, because the deadline to enroll for the spring semester is rapidly approaching.
Rogers could wait until the summer to enroll at a school, but he wants to compete in spring football and take graduate courses.
“Academically, in a year, I feel like I could graduate from grad school,” Rogers said Friday. “And then athletically, I’ve been hindered by one injury that really postponed two years of my career. And other than that, you can look at the stats. Everything else speaks for itself.
“So wherever I decided to go, they will get a good player. They will get somebody who is willing to compete and ready to play.”
Rogers isn’t picky about location, but he wants to compete at the highest level in college or for an established FCS program like Northern Iowa.
The Panthers are certainly an option for the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Rogers, who was a standout dual-threat quarterback in high school.
Rogers said he has spoken to Northern Iowa about the possibility of extending the deadline for spring enrollment. Rogers only learned three days ago that he would be granted a medical hardship.
“If that’s something that can happen at every school, that would be amazing,” Rogers said.
Rogers also mentioned Utah State, Indiana and Montana State as other schools he has been in contact with at this stage.
Even as his wait dragged into late January, Rogers tried to stay positive, believing he would win his appeal.
“I never gave up hope,” he said. “I was told that there was a small chance for me to even get it. But the smallest chance is still good enough to get accepted. And that was my case. I just went through with it and got an answer back. And it was the answer I was looking for.”
Rogers is currently living in Iowa City and training on a daily basis, waiting for an opportunity to salvage his injury-riddled playing career.
When healthy, Rogers has proven to be a dynamic performer.
He started his college career at Iowa State where he was redshirted as a true freshman in 2012. He played in 12 games for the Cyclones in 2013 before transferring to Iowa Western Community College for the 2014 season.
Rogers was named NJCAA first-team All-America in 2014 and was rated the best junior college recruit in Iowa by 247Sports and Scout.com.
He made an immediate impact for Minnesota, finishing with six tackles in his debut against Texas Christian in 2015.
Rogers also made two solo tackles and broke up the final hail-Mary pass against Ohio in his second game and had three tackles against Northwestern before being injured.
He hasn’t played in a game since then, but he has stayed the course.
“It’s a grind,” Rogers said. “But you want to try and accomplish your goals.”
Rogers could move on with his life now that he has a college degree. But he loves playing football and still believes that he can compete at a high level.
“I just want to play,” Rogers said. “I have a year to play. I just want to go somewhere where I can play a lot, play on special teams, play first down on defense.”
One of many problems with being injured for nearly two years is that Rogers doesn’t have a lot of film to show coaches.
“I know having film is a big deal, because think about it, that’s how they evaluate you and analyze you,” Rogers said.
But on the other hand, Rogers has competed at the highest level in college, and held his own when healthy.
“I’ve got it instilled in me that I’m a very hard worker,” Rogers said. “I’m coachable. I learn a system fast. I have a high football IQ. I’ve got drive.”
Rogers was a big deal at West High, where as a senior he earned first-team all-state accolades. He passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards as a senior in 2011.
But since entering college, Rogers’ home has been on defense.
He now just wants to find a new home.