Oak Park's Justin Rogers goes from 'garbage' to Michigan high school football's top player

Photo: Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press

Oak Park's Justin Rogers goes from 'garbage' to Michigan high school football's top player

Football

Oak Park's Justin Rogers goes from 'garbage' to Michigan high school football's top player

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The Clarkston ball carrier was about to break into the clear when Oak Park defensive tackle Justin Rogers came racing across the field.

At a massive 6-feet-3½, 310 pounds, Rogers looks like a mountain disguised as a high school senior.

With the force of a runaway train, Rogers leveled the ball carrier with a clean but ferocious hit, nearly knocking him into next week.

The usual cheer from the crowd was replaced by a gasp.

That is what the No. 1 player in the state looks like and he will be on display again at 7 p.m. Friday when Oak Park (3-1, No. 4 in Division 2) plays at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (3-1).

The offensive and defensive tackle has committed to Kentucky and he was officially introduced to football in the sixth grade when he played for the West Seven Rams in the Detroit Police Athletic League.

Of course he was big, so he must have dominated the game from the get-go, right?

“No,” he said. “I was garbage back in the day.”

Oak Park senior Justin Rogers announces his commitment to Kentucky during a ceremony at the school Monday, May 20, 2019. (Photo: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

Garbage is an adjective rarely used to describe a youngster who was first offered a scholarship from a Power 5 conference school when he was only in the eighth grade, but Rogers stands by his assessment of his early play.

“Hold on, let me pull up the video,” he said, reaching for his phone. “Here it is. I was No. 75.”

Rogers shakes his head as the video shows him as something less than a dominant player.

So, it wasn’t until the seventh grade that Rogers emerged as the next big thing, and we do mean big, right?

“No, not really,” he said. “Let me show you the video.”

Again with the phone.

“I’m No. 52 in this one,” he said after scrolling through a myriad of clips. “We played at Ford Field. There is Jalen Bell, who went from King to Belleville. There is Sam Johnson, who’s at Boston College now.

“I played with all of the top players in Michigan in little league. I wasn’t any good.”

Well, the video did show No. 52 standing up and watching as the ball carrier ran right past.

At least Rogers earns an A-plus for honesty.

Read the Detroit Free Press for more.

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Oak Park's Justin Rogers goes from 'garbage' to Michigan high school football's top player
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