SEC’s No. 2 career passer Rogers chooses UW

Sports

Former Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers, who ranks No. 2 in SEC history in passing yards, told ESPN on Friday that he’s committed to transfer to Washington. 

Rogers is on an official visit to the school this weekend, and he told ESPN he committed to the staff. He’s got one year of eligibility remaining and will be immediately eligible upon arrival. He’ll arrive having thrown for 12,315 yards over four seasons in Starkville. 

Rogers will be favored to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Michael Penix next season, as Penix led the Huskies to an undefeated season, the Pac-12 title and a bid in the College Football Playoff. 

Rogers said he was attracted to the system run by coach Kalen DeBoer and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, as Washington led the nation with 343.8 passing yards per game in 2023. He also appreciated the collection of skill players, tight ends and offensive line talent. 

“Obviously how Coach Grubb runs his offense, it’s one of the tops in the country with how they score points and how quarterback friendly the system is,” Rogers said. “People started to catch on to them in 2022, that’s when the whole nation took notice. Things didn’t go as planned this year (for me), and I entered the portal. I had hoped that they would reach out.” 

Rogers is from Mississippi and went to school about 90 minutes from his home on the outskirts of Jackson and the move nearly 2,500 miles away will be a departure. 

“It was nice to have family and friends to watch all the games,” he said. “But at some point, you have to think about what’s best for your career. This is the best move for me and my family. That’s what we think is best.”

Rogers put up prolific passing numbers during his career at Mississippi State. Along with the 12,315 passing yards, he’s the only SEC quarterback with more than 1,000 career completions, as he has 1,301. That included 505 completions in 2021 under former coach Mike Leach. 

Rogers has started 38 career games and is the NCAA’s No. 39 all-time career passer. Another season in the neighborhood of 4,000 yards, an area he’s approached twice, will put him among the Top 5 all-time passers in the history of the sport. 

Rogers’ statistics dipped in 2023. Leach passed away late in 2022, which led to a sudden coaching change and a different offensive philosophy. After injury slowed him to Rogers to eight games, he completed just 142 balls in 2023. 

“I know I have one more crack at it,” Rogers told ESPN. “I know I had to do what I had to do — win as many games as possible. It’s a place I feel like they throw the ball around a lot, as we did my first three years at Mississippi State. That’s something I’ll be excited about coming in.” 

Rogers said that two ties helped lead him to Seattle. MSU strength coach Tyson Brown played for Grubb and DeBoer in college at Sioux Falls, which gave him a connection and familiarity. Rogers also saw the experience that former teammate Dillon Johnson had leaving Starkville for Seattle, rushing for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. 

“Him going there and having some success was eye-opening for a lot of people,” Rogers said. “It was eye-opening for a lot of people in the locker room. It’s college football these days, man. When someone leaves the SEC that you played with and has some success, you have to take notice of that.” 

Another State tailback is intrigued, as former MSU tailback Jo’Quavious Marks is also slated to visit campus this weekend. 

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