Franklin Co. linebacker has nose for football

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MEADVILLE — Franklin County middle linebacker Gary Rogers has anose for the football. It was clearly evident last Friday nightwhen he made 14 tackles in the Bulldogs’ thrilling 35-34 overtimewin at Brookhaven.

For his performance Rogers has been selected The DAILY LEADER’sDefensive Player of the Week. Rogers (6-0, 245) wears jersey No.5.

Franklin County head coach Grady McCluskey said Rogers has thenatural ability to be an outstanding linebacker. “He had a bunch oftackles. He has the instincts. Gary’s been starting since the ninthgrade. Plus, he’s a good-sized kid.”

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Rogers said he watches Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis forinspiration. “He’s the best linebacker in the NFL.”

Asked about his performance against Brookhaven, Rogers said,”That’s the most (tackles) I ever made in a game. We’ve beenpracticing hard and going hard every play.”

Rogers, a 4-year starter, said he enjoys linebacker. “It’s agood position for me. I’m captain of the defense. You seeeverything that’s going on, on the field. You control the run.”

Recognizing his front line, Rogers said, “My defensive linetakes a lot of pressure off me.” Aljoshua Tillman starts at leftend, Bo Tillman at left tackle, Brandon Collins at right end andAndrew Williams at right tackle.

“We have a lot of spots that need fixing but we have a gooddefense overall,” said Rogers. “I enjoy blitzing the quarterbackthe most.”

Rogers said he definitely wants to play college football. “I’mwaiting on some offers from college.” He bench presses 345 poundsand squats with 600 pounds. He runs a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash.

So far, Rogers said he’s enjoying his senior campaign. CoachTony Gibbs coordinates the Dawgs’ defense. “Coach Gibbs does a goodjob. I like all the coaches.”

In the classroom, he enjoys English the most. Rogers celebrateshis 19th birthday Sunday.