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Football  . 

Rogers Takes Pride in Efforts On and Off the Field

by Brad Muller

When it comes to special teams, the South Carolina football team doesn’t just go through the motions. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. That philosophy applies on and off the field for redshirt sophomore long-snapper Hunter Rogers, who was getting by with his academics early in his career but knew he could do more. After posting a grade point average slightly below a B as a freshman, Rogers used all of his available resources from the Athletics Department’s Dodie Anderson Academic Center to make the most of his academics and posted a perfect 4.0 GPA last fall.

“The workload with all my courses was tough to begin with,” said Rogers, who is now studying sport and entertainment management after changing his major a couple of times. “The COVID pandemic going on (during his first year on campus) didn’t help either. I was up until 2 a.m. doing homework. It was tough.

“Now it’s going well, and if I’m having trouble, I call (Academic Advisor) Bobby (Fieman) or anybody at the Dodie and they help me right away.”

The Dodie provides a wide range of services for South Carolina student-athletes including tutoring, academic advising, screening and testing, learning specialists, as well as computer labs and laptops for checkout.

“Using the resources at the Dodie helped a lot,” Rogers said. “After getting used to college life, learning time management, and building relationships with professors and other people in academics, it helped me learn the skills to handle things in school better.

“I haven’t had a 4.0 since high school, so that was pretty cool! It just shows that if you work hard and put in the extra effort with anything in your everyday life, the end result will be great.”

Hunter Rogers 2022 season
“We work really hard on special teams. It’s important and it shows. There is a sense of pride in it. ”
Hunter Rogers  . 

The Columbia native grew up as a Gamecocks fan, and after joining the team as a preferred walk-on, he and earned a Life Scholarship and was determined to keep that scholarship by keeping his grades up and has made the Dean’s List for three straight semesters.

“I was one of those ten-year olds a few years ago that would wait outside the stadium and try to get high fives from the players. I wanted to get autographs and things like that,” said Rogers, who earned second team All-SEC honors last year as a long snapper. “So, now it’s cool to be on the other end of that. Getting the Life Scholarship made me want to do better. I got that after the second semester of my sophomore year. My mom (Janeen) has raised three boys, and she has always been on top of us with school from day one. She was really proud when I got that (4.0).”

While Rogers position as a long snapper doesn’t put him in the spotlight often, he knows that having a good work ethic has not only paid off with his grades, but in being ready for big moments such as when he caught a touchdown pass on a fake field goal attempt in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against Notre Dame.

“That was probably my most memorable moment,” Rogers said with a smile. “I was the third read on that play. We ran it in practice for about a year and a half. We never ran it in a game up until then, and I only got the ball thrown to me maybe once in practice. I remember after our first field goal, their players were calling out Tonka (Hemingway) and saying, ‘watch the fake.’ I told Coach (Shane) Beamer and (special teams) Coach (Pete) Lembo that if we run that play, let (punter) Kai (Kroeger) read outside and throw it to one of us.”

Rogers has learned to be cool under pressure, on and off the field. Now he feels equipped to handle anything that comes his way and is starting to think about what he’ll do when his football days have ended.

“I want to do something with business, but not necessarily sports-related,” Rogers said. “I may look into something with finances or insurance.

“I like what I do now with football because it’s like perfecting a craft. A lot of things are controlled by me, and I can continue to only get better. There are a lot of pressure situations with being a long snapper. One mess-up, and we’re screwed. As a specialist, we have to be perfect every single time because you only get one shot to do your job. We work really hard on special teams. It’s important and it shows. There is a sense of pride in it. That’s a testament to Coach Beamer and Coach Lembo’s work ethic, too. They push us to be our best.”