Exactly 30 years after winning the Heisman, George Rogers looks back

Rogers accepts the 1980 Heisman trophy
Rogers accepts the 1980 Heisman trophy
George Rogers during his Gamecock days
George Rogers during his Gamecock days

By Jody Barr - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - George Rogers was a standout for the Gamecocks. His name and number are on display inside Williams-Brice Stadium for all to see. But did you know it has been exactly 30 years since he captured school's first -- and so far, only -- Heisman Trophy?

"I won the Heisman Trophy 30 years ago today," Rogers said on Tuesday.

This anniversary, 1980 Heisman winner George Rogers spent the day as he does every Wednesday -- arguing with Clemson fans on Greenville's score sports radio. "You know the best way to eat tiger tail?" he asked. "When you drag it."

Rogers, still crowing about Carolina's win over Clemson Saturday, remembered where he was 30 years ago. "They got me out of Duluth Georgia," he recalled. "Flew me up. At the end of the day, it was just me. But I was in the room, walking around just thinking what I'm going to do, what I'm going to say if I won the Heisman. And surely the next morning, they woke me up and they told me, 'you won the Heisman Trophy.'"

Rogers finished the 1980 Carolina season with more than 1,700 yards, and rushed his way into Carolina football history. The school retired his number 38 jersey just before Rogers' final game.

After seven seasons in the pros, Rogers retired with a 1988 super bowl ring. Even with the Heisman, Rogers says his college career was incomplete.

"I'd give the Heisman Trophy back to get a National Championship, to be honest with you, because that's how much my team means to me," said Rogers. "There were a lot of good players on that team, and no matter whether we got 100 yards or not, they always ask me how many yards I had. I had about 150 yards, those guys would say, 'we'll do better next week.'"

"My kids, they always tell me 'you need to move that Heisman Trophy off that fireplace'" continued Rogers. "And I say 'why? You jealous?' But no, they always ragging me about the Heisman Trophy."

Rogers would only hint at whom he's voting for this year's Heisman. "If I tell you, everybody will know," he said. "But I can tell you he plays for Carolina."

When asked whether Rogers intends to vote for Marcus Lattimore, the USC running back who has Rogers' job 30 years later, Rogers responded, "I'll tell you what, he's a pretty good one. I got nothing but aspirations for him, because the kid is a good kid and does it by the book, and he's got a good family."

George says Lattimore has the potential to break his USC records, including the all-time rushing mark of over 5,000 yards.

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