Injuries robbed Ohio running back Brad Rogers of the gaudy numbers you see from major-college running backs. He suffered an ankle injury his junior year and again last season, when he also split time with Mike Marrow, an Alabama recruit at fullback and linebacker.
Marrow moved to Toledo, Ohio, for his senior year. Suddenly, Central Catholic found itself with two FBS-quality running backs. Yeah, Rogers could’ve pouted his way into the doghouse. He didn’t.
“I thought about the team,” Rogers told the Toledo Free Press. “It couldn’t do anything but help us and it couldn’t do anything but help me because it’ll make me a better player with the competition.”
Rogers gained 40 pounds since his freshman year. The 5-foot-10 running back will enroll at Iowa in the 225-pound range.
“My dad was kind of a big guy,” Rogers said. “He was short, but he was a big, stockier guy. I guess it kind of trickled down to me.”
Rogers, who calls himself a “slasher” of a runner, finished his career with 1,228 yards and 18 TDs. He was also team captain his senior year.
This evaluation is from ESPN Insider, which evaluated tape from Rogers’ junior season:
“Bruising, downhill runner but displays deceptive suddenness and decisive cutting ability at his size to slide through the cutback creases. Great burst for a back with his bulk and he can quickly slice through a defense. Difficult for smaller linebackers and defensive backs to arm tackle with the good initial downhill speed and power he generates in the short-area. Will lower the shoulder on contact and often bounces off and through defenders earning good YAC. Finishes runs and is an effective moving the pile in short-yardage situations with his great lower-body strength.”
Here were some negatives:
“For a kid built low to the ground, he lacks great balance and tends to get tripped up on lower arm tackles and is susceptible to getting chopped down low. We would like to see better body-tilt and lean to transfer his current YAC to the next level and remain durable in a high carry role. Better burst in the short-area than top-end speed in the second level and will not elude many college defensive backs in space. Overall, Rogers could play tailback for a team who employs heavy, downhill power-schemes not an outside zone-type runner. Potential to play fullback as well.”
Don’t use that word, that “fullback” word.
The Hawkeyes got Rogers with the thought that he’d be given a full shot at running back. Even if Ohio State would’ve come calling . . .
“I’ll tell them I’m an Iowa Hawkeye,” Rogers said. “Ohio State told me they wanted me for fullback. I really don’t want to play fullback.”
Ohio State, Kansas, Toledo, Bowling Green and Northwestern showed interest in Rogers, but he was set on committing early and took the first and only offer that came his way, which was last April now.
Rogers calls himself a downhill back, in the mold of Wisconsin’s P.J. Hill. Iowa’s pro-style I formation offense was an attraction, Rogers said.
“What Iowa runs fits my running style,” Rogers said. “They run a lot of I formation, which I like. I can run out of the spread, but I prefer the power I and pro-sets.
“I’m pretty much a downhill runner. If anyone gets in the way, I’m pretty much running them over.”
Coach Kirk Ferentz said there’s need at running back, with Rogers and Sioux City Heelan’s Brandon Wegher in mind.
Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson told HawkeyeNation.com’s Jon Miller, “Rogers, we recruited him as a big back. We are not looking at him as a fullback.”
So, no fullback. Rogers is a running back.