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George Rogers
AP Photo/David Pickoff

South Carolina Pride

1980 Heisman winner George Rogers

It has often been said that when a college football player wins the Heisman Trophy, he joins a very exclusive fraternity. Perhaps no one knows that better than former South Carolina running back George Rogers, the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner. Each year, Rogers calls on his fellow Heisman Trophy winners to support the George Rogers Foundation of the Carolinas, which provides scholarships to college students in North and South Carolina. "We've put a lot of kids through school," Rogers said. "I've been doing this for 20 years." Last year, Heisman Trophy winners Ty Detmer, Billy Sims, Gino Torretta, Mike Rozier, Steve Spurrier and Tony Dorsett, among others, participated in Rogers' golf tournaments to raise money for his foundation. "I've had almost everybody," Rogers said. "I'm still trying to get everybody there." Helping underprivileged children has become Rogers' post-football calling. Growing up in Duluth, Ga., Rogers once couldn't afford the $2 insurance fee to play little league football. Rogers also raises money for his foundation by selling autographs for $10 outside South Carolina home games. "When I'm gone, I've made sure that I did something other than just playing football," Rogers said. South Carolina officials also made sure Gamecocks fans will always remember the school's only Heisman Trophy winner. Rogers' No. 38 jersey was retired after his last home game in 1980. When Rogers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997, the street on the north side of Williams-Brice Stadium was renamed "George Rogers Boulevard." "I wish they would have named it 'Offensive Line Boulevard,'" Rogers said. "It shows the appreciation they had for me, but I'm more of a team player. The Heisman Trophy is more of a team award. It's an individual who wins it, but if you don't have the team behind you, you're not going to be standing there."
-- Mark Schlabach

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