QB Rogers withdraws from portal, staying at Washington

QB Rogers withdraws from portal, staying at Washington

When Kalen DeBoer left Washington to replace Nick Saban at Alabama, it left former Mississippi St. quarterback Will Rogers in a difficult situation.

Rogers, the SEC’s all-time leader in career pass completions, attempts and completion percentage, transferred to Washington in December with plans of replacing Michael Penix.

After DeBoer bolted for Tuscaloosa, Rogers decided to re-enter the transfer portal. After speaking with multiple teams, however, Rogers has elected to remain in Seattle.

According to a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Rogers informed new UW head coach Jedd Fisch of his decision on Tuesday.

“Some of the guys at Washington,” Rogers told ESPN of his reason to return. “The team went 14-1 last year. If we can pick up where we left off, obviously it’s going to be a tough task. But I think it’s why you come to Washington.

“It’s obviously a new conference and things like that. But I have a lot of faith in Coach Fisch and feel like he’ll be ready to have us compete at a high level.”

Rogers told Thamel that Fisch’s experience as an NFL offensive coordinator and QBs coach also played into his decision.

“Coach Fisch told me today, ‘I want to treat you like a professional football player.’ I told him that’s what I want, and that’s what I’m looking to do.”

Rogers had already passed Dak Prescott as Mississippi St.’s all-time leader in career passing yards before his fourth season in Starkville. He started six games as a true freshman in 2020 before starting all 26 games in 2021 and 2022.

Rogers thrived in Mike Leach’s Air-Raid attack. As a true sophomore, he broke the school’s record for passing yards (4,739) in a single season.

In 2021, Rogers completed 73.9 percent of his passes with a 36/9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He led MSU to a 7-6 record both straight up and against the spread.

In 2022, Rogers connected on 68.0 percent of his throws for 3,974 yards with a 35/8 TD-INT ratio. The Bulldogs went 8-4 SU and 7-5-1 ATS in the regular season, capping Leach’s best campaign in Starkville with a 24-22 win at Ole Miss as two-point road underdogs in the Egg Bowl.

But Leach had a heart attack a few weeks later and tragically passed away before MSU’s ReliaQuest Bowl game vs. Illinois.

MSU named defensive coordinator Zach Arnett as its full-time replacement for Leach before the bowl game. Arnett and Rogers helped the Bulldogs to a 19-10 win over the Fighting Illini to finish the year with a 9-4 record.

Arnett’s first full season as a HC didn’t go well, though. Rogers was injured in early October and missed the team’s next four games.

By the time he returned for a Nov. 18 home game vs. So. Miss, Arnett had already been fired.

Arnett’s biggest mistake, which I predictably called last summer, was switching offensive philosophies. Obviously, Leach wasn’t around to direct his pass-happy attack, but Rogers had that system mastered.

Arnett could’ve retained more offensive coaches from Leach’s staff and stuck with that system under Rogers for one more year. He didn’t, Rogers struggled, and it cost Arnett his job after starting the year with a 4-6 record.

Rogers completed only 59.9 percent of his passes for 1,626 yards in 2023. He had a 12/4 TD-INT ratio.

In 43 career games, Rogers has completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 12,315 yards with a 94/28 TD-INT ratio. He’s second in SEC history in career passing yards, trailing only Aaron Murray from Georgia.

FanDuel has Washington listed as an 11.5-point home underdog (at a -105 price) vs. Michigan on Oct. 5. The Huskies have 70/1 odds to win the College Football Playoff.

In FanDuel’s Heisman odds, Rogers is listed between Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders (40/1) and Kansas St.’s Avery Johnson (50/1), but the number on Rogers isn’t available anymore.

DraftKings has Rogers with 30/1 odds to win the Heisman.