EXCLUSIVE: Elite 2017 DE Prospect Will Rogers III Already Has Nation’s Attention & Talks MSU and More with Spartan Nation!

Hearing the name Will Rogers may bring to mind the famous 1920s and 1930s vaudeville actor, humorist, and writer. College football fans will soon associate the name with another face.

One of the most talented, young football recruits in the state of Michigan, Will Rogers III has not garnered much national attention yet due to his age. Should this Saginaw defensive end continue to terrorize opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers, the spotlight will soon find him. With Michigan State, Michigan and most of the Big Ten and SEC already pursuing the youngster things are heating up.

The rising sophomore at Arthur Hill High recently joined Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio in Saginaw, discussing his passion for football, family, and the future.

While everyone is closely watching class of 2015 and 2016 recruits, Will Rogers III is biding his time as a class of 2017 prospect. The rising sophomore boasts an impressive 6’6, 235 pound frame.

What’s remarkable about his size is his outstanding quickness and speed. Rogers flies around offensive tackles and other blockers with ease, moving as if a juicy steak awaits him on the other side.

Comparing himself to James Harrison, Rogers said, “Nine times out of ten, I’m going to get there before the offensive tackle. I am fortunate to have speed and size.”

“In the defense that we run, sometimes I don’t always have contain, sometimes I just go get the running back or the quarterback or whoever has the ball. I don’t have much responsibility, but when I do, I stick to it.”

Athleticism can only take you so far. Another characteristic that sets Rogers apart from the rest is his tenacity.

His relentless attitude leads to sacks, tackles, and big plays. This trait makes him valuable to college coaches searching for hungry defensive ends with a mean streak.

Even on the basketball court, Rogers plays with inspiring intensity.

“I get goosebumps just talking about that kid. He’s a throwback,” his coach Greg McMath said. “He’s one of those guys you love to have. I watch him on the basketball court, and we always tell our post players, ‘Go attack somebody.’ He’ll attack them when they hit the free throw line and I’ll say, ‘Man, this is fun to see.’”

The youngster’s tenacity also translates to the weight room. Rogers doesn’t believe in an offseason.

“To me, it’s all about staying in shape. I can’t just take the offseason off since I’m not playing football right now,” Rogers said. “And I’m not bad at basketball, so why not come out here and give it my all. Because you never know, football might not work out.”

Rogers’ hard work and intensity can be credited in part to his father, Will Rogers, Jr.

With a disciplined approach, the patriarch of the family consistently pushes his son to strive for more. Without the guidance of his father, Rogers might not be where he is today.

“I try to be grateful, I know sometimes that I’m not as appreciative as I should be, but I try to be as grateful as I can,” Rogers said of his father. “I need to thank my dad more for the things he does for me.”

Don’t be fooled, Rogers is still a mama’s boy. But he does appreciate the sacrifices his father has made for him. Rogers joked that his father lost his masculinity when he sold his old car and bought a Prius so they could get better gas mileage traveling the nation on unofficial visits.

Another thing Rogers appreciates is his faith. Another thing he can thank his father for, faith plays a major role in his life.

“Will has definitely been raised in the church, as I was,” Rogers, Jr. said. “Church definitely comes first in our house, and God comes first, I should say. Church is mandatory, not an option. Not just going there, but living and operating by the principles that are taught an shared.”

When the time comes to make a college decision, Rogers has said he will use his faith to come to a conclusion.

That day is still a long way off. Rogers has plenty of time to decide his future. He has plenty to think about in the meantime, as both Michigan and Michigan State have shown strong interest in the youngster. Rogers has already been on a visit to East Lansing.

“It has really nice facilities,” he said of Michigan State. “It looks pretty updated and new compared to a lot of the other colleges. Their gym and their football stadium are really nice.”

Rogers also likes defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and defensive line coach Ron Burton, as Rogers hopes to play for a high-energy coach. These two Spartans certainly fit the bill.

“Every now and then when you don’t feel like practicing, those are the types of guys that get you going,” Rogers said.

While he’s pondering his options, Rogers hopes to make the most of his remaining three years at Arthur Hill.

“I have a couple of goals sports-wise: I want to be all-state in football and I want to be first-team in both football and basketball,” Rogers said.

The young prospect still has plenty of time to make that happen. Already one of the top 2017 recruits in the nation, Rogers has plenty of room to grow. Keep an eye on this young man: before long, he could be suiting up on Saturdays.

“Will Rogers is a great kid. He’s Jason Richardson’s nephew, so he comes from a great bloodline,” McMath said. “He’s a hard working kid: the sky is really the limit for him.”

Many already know him as a great football player, but that doesn’t define him. Rogers III is a great student and a fine young man. Those are the key things that make him special.

There are lots of great athletes, but Rogers wants to me, “A great man. Just like my dad. I want that to define me.” How refreshing to hear from a youngster getting so much attention, who hasn’t even started his sophomore year of high school.


Joe Ginley is the newest writer for the Spartan Nation website and magazine. He writes Spartans in the NFL and State of the Spartans among other articles. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe brings a great passion for sports and a great flexibility in writing skills.

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