A former Thomson resident is heading to the big show.
Auburn Tiger and former Butler Bulldog Carlos Rogers heard his name called ninth in the NFL draft on Saturday.
Rogers, who grew up in Thomson, was kept on the line seven minutes by Washington Redskin coaches and scouts before Joe Gibbs came on the line. The legendary head coach, who led the Redskins to three Super Bowl victories, had a simple message for his new cornerback.
"He told me he was looking forward to seeing me in mini-camp," Rogers said. "And he said he didn't want to see too many passes thrown to my side of the field. He wants me to lock my side of the field down."
With that, Rogers cracked out of his poker face with a shout.
"I'm a Redskin," he told a room of about two dozen people that soon enveloped him. "We're going to Washington."
His journey to Washington started years ago on the recreation fields of McDuffie County. Though he moved to Augusta during middle school and became a star on the Butler football team, Thomson was still home.
"Overall, Thomson was fun. That's where everything started," Rogers told The Mirror in December after winning the Jim Thorpe award as the top defensive back in college football. "Growing up with football, I started playing when I was eight years old. I had a dream since then. Everything started from little league to rec ball."
Just over a decade ago, Rogers' father David moved his family to Augusta to keep from having such a long drive to work each day, but he still loves Thomson and visits often. David Rogers, who still has family in McDuffie, is proud of his son's accomplishments on the football field.
"It's a dream come true," David Rogers said.
Carlos' reaction to the draft almost seemed pre-planned. Rogers allowed himself to splurge on one big-ticket item beforehand: A candy-apple red Cadillac Escalade. It looked a lot like the Redskins primary color under the sun in his driveway Saturday.
"I really felt good about Washington," Rogers said. "The visit I had with the Redskins was the best that I had. I was ready to be a Redskin by the time I got up there and met everyone."
Rogers can expect to receive a contract similar to the one signed by South Carolina cornerback Dunta Robinson last year. Robinson was the No. 10 pick and signed a six-year deal for $11.4 million dollars, including a signing bonus of $4.07 million.
"I've dreamed of the NFL, but not like this," Rogers said. "Not being picked in the first round. Not being picked in the first 10 picks. It's a dream just to make the NFL. But to go top 10 in the first round? How can I not be fully satisfied with today?"
He planned to treat the family to a big celebratory meal Saturday night.
"I guess I will pick up the check tonight," he said.
He will fly to Washington to meet with his team Thursday.