HOUSTON, Texas (NOV.29) - For the first time in two-and-a-half decades, a University of Houston defensive player is honored with a player-of-the year award. Senior linebacker Wayne Rogers (Waco, Texas)was named Conference USA Co-Defensive Player of the Year today, Nov.29. Rogers shares the honor with Southern Miss defensive lineman Cedric Scott.
Rogers becomes the first Cougar defender to receive such an honor since the late Wilson Whitley capped his Lombardi Award season with the 1976 Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award. Rogers' honor is the first player-of-the-year award for Houston since running back Antowain Smith grabbed the 1996 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year trophy. He also becomes the sixth Cougar all-time to be honored as Player of the Year.
The Player of the Year award is the fourth post-season honor for Rogers since the conclusion of the 2000 campaign. Yesterday, Rogers was named to the C-USA First Team and picked as a Third Team All-American by Collegefootballnews.com. Last week The Football News also selected Rogers to their All-America Third Team.
Rogers was the Cougars defensive leader this year, racking up a Conference USA-leading 134 tackles, including 87 solo stops. Rogers-who was twice named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week in games versus Memphis and Southern Miss in successive weeks-set a Houston single-season record with 26 tackles for loss. He also racked up 10 sacks, broke up four passes and recorded one interception.
The former University High School star in Waco, Rogers finished his career with 330 tackles, 57 tackles for loss and 19 sacks, placing him in the UH Top 10 in all three categories. His 57 TFLs ranks him second only to T.J. Turner (1982-85) and his 66 tackles for loss.
Here is a breakdown of Rogers' season:
UH head coach Dana Dimel has nothing but praise for his now-departed captain. "Wayne Rogers has played absolutely outstanding for us this season," commented Dimel. "He plays the game exactly the way you want it played at one of the most crucial positions on the field. I firmly believe that if he is given the opportunity, he is the type of player that can do it on the next level. "If you make the plays in college, you'll make the plays in the pros. He's tough and he knows his assignments and he will fight on every play. That's the kind of player you want on your team."
Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower, who witnessed first-hand the one-man wrecking machine Rogers was in the Cougars' 6-3 loss to the Golden Eagles on October 28, had this to say about the Cougar linebacker. "We thought going into the football game that he was a really good player, but coming out of the game when we were watching the film, all we saw was number 10 all day," said Bower. "He's a very instinctive football player. I don't know how many total tackles he made in our game, but it seemed like he made every one." The 2000 season does not end for Rogers until mid-January, when he takes part in the annual East-West Shrine Classic in San Francisco, Calif.
Rogers' 2000 Game-by-Game Stats
UT AT T TFL Sacks FF FR PD Rice 12 4 16 1-7 1-7 0 0 0 LSU 10 2 12 0 0 0 0 0 Army 7 2 9 1-2 0 0 0 0 Texas 11 2 12 2-10 1-9 0 0 1 SMU 2 3 5 1-2 0 0 0 1 Cincinnati 10 6 16 4-25 2-23 0 1 0 Memphis 12 4 16 4-22 2-17 0 0 1 Southern Miss 8 8 16 7-30 2-15 0 0 0 Tulane 5 3 8 2-6 0 0 0 1 East Carolina 2 9 11 1-4 0 0 0 0 Louisville 8 4 12 3-19 2-15 1 0 0 Totals 87 47 134 26-127 10-86 1 1 4