Buford's Korie Rogers (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
Football Super Six - Buford's Korie Rogers
Buford's Korie Rogers has been selected as one of the Daily Post's football Super Six.
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THE ROGERS FILE
Name: Korie Rogers
College choice: Clemson
Nickname: Boss Rogers
Place of birth: Lawrenceville
Role model: Kobe Bryant
Favorite restaurant: Wild Wings
Favorite store: Nike Store
Favorite teacher: Mrs. Beach
Favorite subject: Math
Text messages I send in a month: Around 10,000
Twitter handle: KD_Rogers43
Life’s dream: "I just want to be successful. I have a family I want to support and to help people in Buford. It's where I grew up."
Info file: Grew up wearing Buford's green and gold and played football for a team named Buford starting at age 8. He used to play basketball but gave that up when he realized his potential in football when he played in some varsity games for Buford as a freshman. He committed to Clemson early to remove the stress of recruiting entering his senior year.
Coach Jess Simpson's take: "He's one of those guys I always say you could put him in a phone booth and he could still snap his hips and put his body on you pretty explosively and not need a running start.
Editor's Note: This is the fourth of the GDP football Super Six. We'll run them in six consecutive print edition's of the newspaper.
BUFORD — Ask Korie Rogers where he was born and his knee jerk reaction comes out as Buford.
“Well, Lawrenceville,” he corrects course.
His precision aside, the senior linebacker makes it clear, Buford, not Lawrenceville or Gwinnett or Georgia, best represents him. And the other way around. A college-bound football player, Rogers even seems melancholy about strapping on the purple and orange of Clemson next season. It will be his first football team not adorned in Buford colors.
“I grew up wearing green and gold,” Rogers said.
And not just over his pads or on his helmet, but on his shirts at school and in the stands at home football games. Through his nerves and intensity and excitement as he walks out of the tunnel every home game, one of Rogers’ sharpest visions is of the hordes of kids, fans, lining the tunnel and skipping around the stands and the sidelines. Amongst those faces, a younger Rogers whips just out of the now high school senior’s view; a reminder of where he came from and why he loves playing football for Buford.
“A home game at Buford and you walk out of the tunnel and you hear Gloryland,” Rogers said. “Gloryland is going on and all the little kids. I remember being a little kid and looking up to the varsity players and just doing whatever they do, doing the celebrations they do. It’s crazy just knowing that you have people that know you in the stands cheering you on.”
Rogers first put on a Buford football jersey at age 8 and though he knows his future leads to South Carolina and another town and different colors, he’s not interested in looking beyond his final walks though that tunnel with Gloryland, Buford’s entrance song, filling his ears.
“Gloryland always gives me chills,” Rogers said. “I’ve been listening to that growing up. It’s just our home field.”
Ask head coach Jess Simpson, who recognized Rogers’ ability when he played him in the waning minutes of varsity games as a freshman, and the “our” in home field is not feined humility. One of the most talented players in the state, as Rogers’ star rose so did the outside attention. In this preseason, as Simpson tells it, he needed some equipment for a photo shoot, already dressed in his game jersey. He asked not to go to the locker room to pick it up.
“He said, ‘Coach, I don’t want to be a distraction,’” Simpson recalled. “He knew the rest of the team was in the locker room and he was in uniform. That’s just pretty good perspective.”
He was in uniform because of what he does wearing his beloved green and gold. As a linebacker, Rogers made 91 tackles in 15 games as a junior, he piled up seven sacks and used his 4.48 40-yard dash speed and 6-feet-2 height to come up with a team-best four interceptions. Clemson doesn’t call for humility alone.
“Korie does a few things really well,” Simpson said. “He runs and handles space really well as a defensive player. When he tackles, he’s one of those guys I always say you could put him in a phone booth and he could still snap his hips and put his body on you pretty explosively and not need a running start.”
Erik Richards, a national scouting director for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl agrees with Simpson’s assessment.
“(Rogers is) perhaps the most underrated linebacker in the nation in my opinion,” Richards said. “Every bit as good as anyone I have seen nationally including other 5-stars that are out there. Greatest attribute is the way he can flip his hips on a dime and run with running backs.”
Even faced with these exaltations, Rogers reverts to his off-field humility and deflection of attention.
“We have great coaches,” Rogers said. “You watch film as much as we do, you know what you are doing just as much as the offense does. Sometimes we know what we are doing more than the offense does. We get there before they do.”
Rogers gets there. Rogers makes the read. Rogers goes on the attack. Rogers accelerates. And when he gets there good things happen for Buford.
“He has a knack for effecting the football. Whether it’s batting the ball, picking a ball or stripping the ball out. He really has a knack for effecting the ball as a tackler. Those pretty good qualities for a defensive football player,” Simpson said. “It’s hard to teach kids — we talk about conscious effort of effecting the ball — but a lot of kids get out there in the heat of the moment and they are just hoping they can get the kid on the ground. He just has that (ability).”
As a Wolves player, Rogers has one more season before his ability draws him away to, hopefully, better things. But Death Valley and Howard’s Rock and the list of Clemson traditions are ancillary for Rogers and his home, his Gloryland.
“I am playing for my dad. I am playing for a buddy that I lost. I am just playing for everybody from Buford.”
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