Ricky Rogers decides to join Mountaineers football family
Ricky Rogers, a junior wide receiver at Gateway, has one more high school season left with the Gators, but he has made his collegiate plans final with a verbal commitment to West Virginia University.
He continues the long line of Gateway football players to commit to Division I schools over the history of the Gators program, especially in the past decade.
Rogers is the first Gateway player to commit to West Virginia since Mortty Ivy selected the Mountaineers in 2003. Ivy, a 2004 Gateway graduate who was an all-state player for the Gators, went on to start two seasons at linebacker for West Virginia. He is a four-year NFL veteran, most recently with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He currently is a free agent.
In Rogers' first season with the Gators after transferring from Keystone Oaks, he caught nine passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns.
He fought for catches from senior quarterback Thomas Woodson among a deep receiving corp that featured as many as six players who were called upon to make plays this past fall.
Rogers also had scholarship offers from Pitt, Toledo and Rutgers.
West Virginia finished its first season in the Big 12 with a 4-5 record, and the Mountaineers are 7-5 overall. WVU will face Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York on Dec. 29.
Rogers, who is homeschooled, transferred to Gateway over the summer.
He played for Keystone Oaks as a sophomore and had a 30 catches for 504 yards and four touchdowns.
Rogers initially was ruled ineligible to play football for Gateway in 2012.
At a hearing with Rogers, his family and school officials just days before preseason camp practices were to start, the WPIAL Board of Control made its decision and said the transfer was based at least in part on athletic intent.
Two weeks later, an appeal of the decision was heard by the PIAA, and the state's interscholastic athletic governing body overturned the WPIAL's ruling and declared Rogers eligible to play.
Gateway quarterback Thomas Woodson, who committed to Arizona in June, has reopened his recruitment after his scholarship offer was pulled.
“The worst part about it: Not one of the coaches called me. They had a compliance officer call to let me know,” Gateway coach Terry Smith said.
“You always hear about this kid de-committing and switching schools, but you don't hear about what these colleges do to a kid. It's ruined his recruitment. We had these schools come in and (we) wouldn't let them meet with him. We're scrambling.”
Akron offered a scholarship last Thursday to Woodson, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder who completed 118 of 204 passes for 2,395 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Woodson, a three-year starter, was shot in the leg during a trip to North Carolina in 2011.
“Thomas is a resilient kid,” Smith said. “He's been through worse. I told him, ‘This isn't as bad as it seems. You're going to land somewhere. You just have to be patient.'
“We've got to wait for the trickle-down, especially with all of these coaching changes.”
Kevin Gorman, a staff writer forTrib Total Media, contributed to this report.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.