If Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers‘ 2023 season is anything like his last two, he will leave the school as the SEC’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is currently eighth on both lists and already holds the conference record with 1,159 completions.
Rogers also holds 29 Mississippi State program records, including career passing yards (10,689) and career passing touchdowns (82).
In his two full seasons as the team’s starting quarterback, he has led the Bulldogs to 16 wins and two bowl games. They are coming off a nine-win season — their first in five years — that featured victories over archrival Ole Miss in the regular-season finale, and then over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl.
In between those two games, head coach Mike Leach suddenly passed away due to a heart condition. Leach had recruited Rogers when he was the coach at Washington State, and the two were eventually united when Leach took the Mississippi State job.
“We had a really special connection, obviously,” Rogers said last week during SEC media days about his former coach. “Played three years for Coach Leach, recruited me out of high school. Very, very sad when he ended up passing. I look forward to honoring him this year just by playing hard and hopefully throwing a couple touchdowns for him. Just doing as he would do.”
Rogers found comfort in his strong faith in God during the tragic situation. He said during a recent appearance on the Sports Spectrum Podcast that Leach’s sudden passing provided him with opportunities to share with his teammates about the eternal hope he has in Christ.
The Brandon, Mississippi, native grew up in a Christian home and often shares his faith on social media. After breaking Dak Prescott’s school record for career passing touchdowns last season, Rogers gave thanks to Jesus in a tweet.
— Will Rogers (@Wrogers__2) November 6, 2022
He also started wearing a wristband with Joshua 1:9 on it during high school. The verse says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
When Rogers takes the field, his focus is on bringing glory to God.
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“He’s changed my life in a tremendous way, not just with football and the things I do on the football field, but just in life in general,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast. “I think I have a pretty good grasp and pretty good understanding that, you know, what I’m doing on the field is ultimately for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
As he prepares for his fourth season as a Bulldog, Rogers wants to be known for the way he impacted his teammates rather than the records he’s set.
“I truly believe that when I get to the gates of Heaven, God’s not gonna give me a pat on the back for throwing a touchdown against Ole Miss or Alabama,” he said on the podcast. “He’s gonna talk about the way I affected my teammates.”
Rogers is one of three Mississippi State players to be named as an All-SEC preseason selection, earning a spot on the third team alongside Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III. The Bulldogs open their season against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 2.
“I’ve just been trying to become more consistent in my game,” Rogers said at SEC media days. “Obviously trying to get better every single day, trying to get better from year to year. So I look forward to trying to showcase that in the fall and win as many games as possible.”
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