'Walking highlight' Charles Rogers one of 8 inducted into MSU Athletics Hall of Fame

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing – From the acrobatic catches to the cheering fans, Cathy Rogers remembers it all like it was yesterday.

On Friday night, Rogers was at Michigan State to represent her son, Charles Rogers, who was being inducted into the Spartans’ Athletics Hall of Fame.

Former wide receiver Charles Rogers is part of Michigan State's 2021 Athletics Hall of Fame class.

“It’s very emotional,” Rogers said. “Very hard. It’s a bittersweet moment because he should be here.”

Rogers, an All-American wide receiver for Michigan State in 2002, died in 2019 at the age of 38.

Before that, though, the Saginaw native wowed the crowds at Spartan Stadium.

In just two seasons at Michigan State (2001-02), Rogers became MSU's all-time leader in touchdown catches with 27 and ranks third in school history in receiving yards (2,821) and eighth in catches (135) — even though he only played in 24 collegiate games. He still owns the top two MSU single-season marks for receiving yards (1,470 in 2001 and 1,351 in 2002) and touchdown catches (14 in 2001 and 13 in 2002).

As a junior in 2002, Rogers became the first Spartan to win the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's best receiver. With 68 catches for 1,351 yards and 13 touchdowns, Rogers was a consensus All-American, first-team All-Big Ten selection, team MVP and Alderton Award winner (MSU Male Athlete of the Year). Rogers had four consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start the season, including eight receptions for a season-best 175 yards vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 21, including an acrobatic catch in the end zone late in the fourth quarter that is remembered as one of the best in Spartan history.

“You know a guy is good when another team double-teams you at the line of scrimmage,” former teammate Lorenzo Guess said. “That's when you know a guy is good. He was like a walking highlight. He was good, everyone knew he was good, but he was still down to earth. That's why everybody loved him.”

Rogers is part of the 2021 class that includes Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins (softball/women’s basketball), Franklin Gomez (wrestling), Anthony Hamm (men’s cross country/track and field), Lynn Janson (men’s golf), Elizabeth (Shimek) Moeggenberg (women’s basketball), Floor Rijpma (field hockey) and Ron Scott (hockey).

Friday night’s induction ceremony was part of Michigan State’s “Celebrate” weekend. The festivities included the Varsity Letter Jacket Presentation on Thursday and at halftime of Saturday’s football game against Nebraska, the Hall of Fame class will be recognized.

“It’s a very long time coming,” Cathy Rogers said. “I really wouldn't know what he would say, but I know he would be proud to be honored. And we are proud, too.”

After Rogers’ career at MSU, he was selected No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2003 NFL Draft, but injuries cut his career short after only three seasons with the Lions.


Twitter: @mattcharboneau