Charles Rogers & the Light        that SHINED!!!

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Written by Jeremy "J-Jack" Jackson

     It was mid April, and the NFL Draft was about to start.  This draft was special, in more ways then one.  As a fan and former student at Michigan State University, the Biletnikoff award winner, Charles Rogers was among the draftable players.  What made it even better, is that the same person also attended the high school, I attended.  Da High!!  Saginaw High School, that is.  To many of us at that time, it was unbelievable.  We grew up seeing Terry McDaniel's, former Raider/Seahawk, picture on the school walls but was too young to have seen him play for "Da High".  Terry was drafted in 1988, 1st round, 9th pick.  He was our measuring stick.   The person who, in my youth, showed that it was possible for athletes from Saginaw, Michigan.  

     Then, came April 26th, 2003.  With college stars from many schools, that included Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, to Anquan Boldin, it was one name we anxiously awaited to hear called.  CHARLES ROGERS!!  We didnt have to wait long.  His name was called with the second pick, of the 2003 NFL Draft, and Saginaw, as well as Michigan as a whole, felt good!!  It was a LIGHT!!!  You also heard the whispers.  "Ohhh the Lions!!!"  Yes, I'm a fan of the Lions, but you couldn't help but hear the, "too close to home!" or "Same ol' Lions" but Charles went out, and by week one of his rookie season, had a duel with another rookie, Anquan Boldin, that showed "The Light" shined bright!!  Lions fans, Spartan Fans, Trojan Fans, were all  happy the world was seeing what they already had seen.  That Charles Rogers was exactly as advertised.  In that game he had 2 touchdowns.  But the storybook ending, didn't go as planned.


     On this day, November 11th, 2019, we lost a Legend.  A Saginaw Legend.  That shared with all media and anyone that listened, that Saginaw, was where he was from.  He spoke it PROUDLY!!!  The State of Michigan Legend.  One of the GREATEST WRs in Michigan State University's HISTORY!!!  The Greatest WR to be a Student-Athlete at Saginaw High School!!  A Person, that many will remember for his smile and humbleness.  I can remember Charles riding down 7th  and Tuscola, as we sat on the porch, in a Benz truck.  Colors flipping and we would say, "Yooo, You see Chuck?"  He gave the city hope, at a time, when Saginaw had a lot of side to side street beefs.  In my mind, I think Chuck could have pulled up on any block in Saginaw, and been welcomed.  It's nothing I can prove but in 2003, his name shined the brightest in Saginaw, Michigan. 

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in which he had 31 points 4 assists and 8 rebounds 

and 1 steal vs Marcus Taylor and Lansing Waverly.  

Then, you had football, in which Charles helped

Saginaw High to a 1999 State Championship.  Every 

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Sport he had touched, was a chance for Saginaw High and Charles and his talented teammates, many of whom also, either played in college or went to the NFL or NBA. to be called Champions.  As so many of his former teammates have spoken, you should understand, that even with his all world talent, that Charles loved his teammates, Family, and the city of Saginaw.     

Charles Rogers could have been a star in whatever sport that he wanted to

participate in.  He was a Track and Field STAR!!  In 1998, Charles won the 100

and 200 yard dash State Titles.  In 1999, Charles won the 400 yard dash State

championship, a close 2nd place finish in the 200 yard dash and 2nd in the

100 yd dash in one of the best rivalries to ever hit Saginaw, between him and

the State Champion that year, Stuart Schweigert, who went on to play for

Purdue and then in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.  Chuck added a 200

yard dash State championship in his senior year.  3 years, 4 State Titles in

track.  In basketball, he helped lead Saginaw High to the Class A semi-finals, 

     On to MSU. where Chuck won the Biletnikoff Award as the Nations top WR in 2002.   As an All-American, Charles Rogers caught a school-record 68 passes for 1,351 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2002.  The announcement was made live on ESPN's College Football Awards Show at the Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney's Boardwalk.  in 2002, Rogers became only the second receiver in MSU history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, joining Plaxico Burress who accomplished the feat in 1998-99. His receiving yards and TD catches

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represented the second-best single-season totals in Spartan history  He led the Big Ten in receiving yards (112.6 per game) and TD receptions while ranking second in receptions (5.67 per game) during the regular season. He completed the regular season ranked among the NCAA leaders in receiving yards (ninth) and receptions (t-25th). Fifty-seven of his 68 receptions (84 percent) resulted in first downs.  Chuck set both NCAA and Big Ten records by catching a TD pass in 13 consecutive regular-season games.  He went for 175 yards vs. Notre Dame on just seven catches.  In just two years on the field at MSU, he finished his career at the time,  first in touchdown receptions with 27, 2nd in receiving yards with 2,821, second in yards per catch with 20.9 and 3rd in receptions with 135. He produced a school-record 12 career 100-yard receiving games, including a Spartan single-game record of 270 yards vs. Fresno State on 10 receptions) in the 2001.  Rogers had 3,108 career all-purpose yards and his 29 career touchdowns rank ed him as seventh on MSU's career chart when he decided to forego his senior season.  He put up many memorable highlights like the back end touchdown with the heel drop against Notre Dame.  Plus the catch, spin and run, which was also versus Notre Dame.  Charles was a RARE talent.  A talent, NEVER before seen out of Saginaw, Michigan.  And Saginaw has produced its fare share of talented athletes.  But Chuck was one of a kind.  Someone that could get out of his car, not even stretch and run a 10.6 100 effortlessly. 

     Today, Saginaw lost a Legend.  MSU lost a legend.  The Sports World lost Chuck!!!  A generational talent, that made many humans gasp at what he could do with ease.  Thank You Chuck!!  For the Youth of Saginaw, will always have someone that they can look to, and say,  "It's Possible!!"  And actually believe and know that it is.