ATLANTA (August 23) — Sometimes Georgia Tech’s Rose Bowl practice field seems just like the Rogers’ neighborhood.
On the Flats, that neighborhood consists of 6-1, 230-pound senior tailback Phillip Rogers and sophomore linebacker Nick Rogers, who at 6-2 and 241 pounds must be referred to as the “younger” rather than “little” brother.
The Rogers’ brothers, who hail from nearby East Point, Ga., will suit up for the Yellow Jackets this fall, but with the Sept. 4 season opener at Navy still almost two weeks away, any sibling rivalry is confined to the practice field.
Observers chuckled when Phillip flattened his brother in a one-on-one drill.
“He came up to make the tackle, and I didn’t approach him as being my brother, I just approached him as being any defender and I tried my best to knock him over,” recalled Phillip.
“I got him twice, but a couple of days later in a blocking drill, he won that battle. We go at it full speed.”
And then there was the play in a recent scrimmage in which Phillip broke a long run and was headed for the end zone before Nick ran the length of the field to tackle him just a few yards shy of the goal line. All this with Mom and Dad and little sister, Dana, watching,
“Give credit to both members of the Rogers family because both made great plays,” laughed Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary afterward.
While Nick will try to make a name for himself in his first season as a starter, Phillip is well established as a key component in Tech’s high-powered offense.
A powerful north-south runner, Rogers shares the bulk of the rushing chores with sophomore Joe Burns. Rogers was Tech’s second-leading rusher in 1998 with 466 yards on 117 carries (4.0 average). He also caught nine passes for 144 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Rogers has earned a reputation for gaining tough yards on third down, and his signature move is leaping over the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations, utilizing his 38-inch vertical jump.
“It started the Florida State game,” he said, recalling his two-yard hurdle that gave Tech a 7-0 lead over the Seminoles. “We were two or three yards out, and I just told myself that even if there is no hole, I can get into the end zone by jumping. People think it hurts to jump over the line, but it doesn’t hurt at all.”
He scored similar touchdowns against Clemson and Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. In Tech’s comeback win over the Tigers, Rogers totalled just 16 yards, but he had three key third-down conversions in addition to the touchdown. He turned in one of his best efforts in the Jackets’ dramatic victory over 12th-ranked Georgia, gaining 47 of his 66 yards in the decisive fourth quarter.
With a career total of 954 yards, Rogers needs just 46 yards rushing to become the 27th player in Tech history to reach the 1000-yard mark.
After making a splash as a true freshman in 1995, Rogers missed the following season with a neck injury.
“That taught me to appreciate playing,” he said. “It really made me play hard every single day, and play every play like it’s my last.”
In his spare time, the Management major enjoys investing on-line, building a portfolio of technology-based stocks and preparing for a future career in the financial world.
“I had some money saved up and I got interested in investing,” he explained. “I’ve about doubled what I originally put into my portfolio.”
“Doubling” is something that Tech fans will come to associate with the Rogers family.
Other recent brother combinations to play for the Yellow Jackets:
Muyres, Jon (SE, 1996-present) and Jeremy (FS, 1999-present) Williams, Rodney (P, 1995-98) and Marlon (OLB, 1990-93) Swilling, Pat (OLB, 1982-85) and Darrell (LB, 1988-91) Malone, Ralph (DT, 1982-85) and George (OLB, 1985-88) Rhino*, Randy (DB, 1972-74) and Danny (DB, 1973-75) * Last brothers to start at the same time