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A Tiger from Bulldog Country: Auburn standout, McDuffie native wins defensive back award

Winning the Jim Thorpe award was on Carlos Rogers' mind at the end of his junior season at Auburn. That goal, along with trying to win a national championship, played into the Thomson native's decision to stay for his senior season.


Auburn's Carlos Rogers, the best defensive back in the nation, got his start on the recreation fields of McDuffie.
Photo by Todd J. Vanemst/Auburn University
Rogers was recognized with the Thorpe award as the best defensive back in the nation earlier this month, and his undefeated team has a chance to share a piece of the national championship. It all seemed to work out just like he planned.

But it began 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 said. "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."

Rogers finished this season with one sack, 41 tackles and two interceptions -- one for a 53-yard touchdown return. Though his numbers weren't as impressive as some other cornerbacks, Rogers feels he won the award because quarterbacks were afraid to throw in his direction.

"I always get frustrated about not having numbers and things like that, but ... some games I don't even have a ball thrown at me," he said. "I knew coming into the season my numbers wouldn't be as high as expected, but this year I kept my composure. I did a lot of things on special teams and other things in the field that can make plays for me and bring highlights and bring excitement to this team."

Rogers will head to the NFL draft this year, and he is expected to be the first cornerback taken. He has no idea where he will be playing next year, but he hopes it will be somewhere down South because it's warm and nearer to family.


Photo by Todd J. Vanemst/Auburn University
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," he said. "It's something that every father probably fantasizes and dreams about that hopefully their son would do something spectacular that the world would know about. And for it to come true, it's something that you feel that God has really shined it upon you."

Web posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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