On This Day in Black History: Johnny Rogers is Awarded the Heisman Trophy

2 Posted by - June 24, 2020 - Games

Born on July 5th 1951, Johnny Rogers is among the few African Americans who successfully dominated in the American football arena. The young black American who was ranked the best football player and athlete of all times began his career while still a young college boy representing the University of Nebraska in the college league. Rogers began his career at a very young age where he represented the university in various sports such as basketball, baseball, football and track. Although he was just 5’9” with a weight of 173 pounds, he was voted to play for the university’s football team altogether.

Starting from the 1970 season, Rogers was inducted to the starting lineup team where he gave his all to the success of Nebraska. Specializing as a punt return, pass receiver and running back, Rogers broke almost every record set in the football arena during the time. Nicknamed “The Jet” for his rapid acceleration, Rogers was able to lead the University of Nebraska to a historic win of the 1970-71 national championship. In one of the matches between Nebraska and Oklahoma, Rogers was able to make a 72 yard punt return for a touchdown which rated the match as one of the most iconic moments of college football.

In 1972, Rogers continued to blossom as a national football star a milestone which won him a number of accolades and honors in the field. Among the many awards won by Rogers during this successful year included the Walter Camp Award, named in the College Football All-American Team and won the Heisman Trophy on 14th December 1972.

In the seasons that followed from 1971 to 1973, Rogers continued to show impressive results on the football arena leading the University of Nebraska to three consecutive Championship titles. After an outstanding career with Nebraska Cornhuskers, Rogers’ versatility established a NCAA yardage record of 5,586 with a total of 6059 including Bowl games. With such an outstanding career record, Rogers was estimated to have garnered a 13.8 career average in yards per touch; a milestone which contributed to him being inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame on 14th December 2000.

In 1973, although receiving a first-round draft pick to play for San Diego Chargers, Rogers opted to join Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL). During his four years with the Alouettes, Rogers won the CFL Best Performing Rookie Award, the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy and helped the team win the 1974 Grey Cup Championship. In 1977, he signed a $925,000 deal with San Diego Chargers but only played 17 matches before a serious knee injury during practice ended his football career.




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