GRANGER TWP. — Jake Rogers tried to block out the noise that he was too small to play Division I college football, knowing that one day someone was going to pull the trigger.
Bowling Green State finally did so Tuesday, and Rogers rewarded them Wednesday with his commitment over preferred walk-on offers from Ohio State and Michigan State.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound all-purpose dynamo received a full ride from the Falcons, who have struggled this season but are only three years removed from winning the Mid-American Conference. He will play slot receiver and return punts.
“I feel like I got a really good connection with the wide receivers coach who recruited me (former Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege),” said Rogers, who will major in exercise science. “I like him a lot. I like the campus, and it’s the best fit — really inviting.
“Playing time is a big thing. I feel like I fit their playstyle of a MAC school as a smaller wide receiver who gets a lot of underneath routes and gets a lot of plays.”
Bowling Green fired head coach Mike Jinks last month after a 1-6 start. Interim coach Carl Pelini has strong Ohio ties as the older brother of former Nebraska coach and current Youngstown State boss Bo Pelini. Rogers is confident Pelini will have the interim tag removed in the offseason because of that.
Led by Doege’s sophomore brother Jarret at quarterback, the Falcons run a modern spread offense that maintains run-pass balance. Five of the top nine players in terms of yards from scrimmage (rushing/receiving) are freshmen or sophomores.
Rogers was thrilled to finally get a full scholarship after a long, frustrating process. He attended a junior camp at BG and visited Kent State, Ohio State and Michigan State before making his decision.
“It was definitely hard dealing with that because I feel like a lot of times I could have had better highlights and film than a lot of kids who had better size,” he said. “Their logic was you can’t teach size. It’s a huge relief off my shoulders.”
Rogers will forever be linked as one of the greatest all-purpose players in Medina County history. He began his varsity career at wide receiver, moved to running back midway through 2017 and finished with 573 touches for 5,918 all-purpose yards and 53 touchdowns — all school records.
Rogers, who started two years at cornerback, also had 43 punt returns for a 23.7 average. His seven touchdowns are tied with Medina’s Jim Johnson (1940-42), among others, for second in Ohio history.
This season, the All-Ohioan had 193 carries for 1,391 yards, 19 catches for 353 yards, seven kickoff returns for 189 yards, 11 punt returns for 257 yards, two interceptions for zero yards and 28 total touchdowns as Highland went 8-2.
“My parents (Jeff and Gina), they paid for all the training and I worked really hard,” Rogers said. “It worked out.”
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