Ever since Casey Rogers was a kid, he knew college sports were in his future. He just didn’t know whether he would play football or lacrosse.
Growing up in New York, Casey was exposed to the game of lacrosse, having been introduced in upstate New York in the 1860s and in the Baltimore area in the 1890s — two areas that continue to be lacrosse hotbeds. Nowadays in the recruiting landscape of college lacrosse, schools commonly go after high school freshmen and sophomores.
In Syracuse, playing Division I football wasn’t “a big thing for kids,” Casey said.
“Growing up, lacrosse was always the thing that made sense to play in college,” he added. “My dad coached at Syracuse [University], so it just made sense.”
Casey’s father, Lelan Rogers, was the defensive coordinator for the lacrosse team at Syracuse University from 2008 to 2020. He was also the head coach of Major League Lacrosse’s (MLL) Chicago Machine during the summer of 2007.
It’s safe to say lacrosse ran deep in the Rogers family.
As a sophomore at Westhill High in Syracuse, Casey verbally committed to play lacrosse at Syracuse University. But he had a tough time wrapping his head around completely letting go of football.
“Football is not something that you will always be able to play,” he said, “especially at the position I play; football is only so long, and I could not pass up the opportunity to play Division I football.”
After Casey graduated from high school, he decided to take a post-grad year at Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Conn. to continue both football and lacrosse. He visited different Division I programs across the nation during his post-grad year, including Ohio State and Alabama and also received offers from Temple, California-Berkeley, Rutgers, Pittsburg, Vanderbilt, Oregon State, Indiana and Virginia.
In 2017, Casey visited the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and said he made a unique connection with Scott Frost and the coaching staff. Not even a day after his visit to Lincoln, Coach Frost and his staff went to Connecticut to visit Casey at his prep school. Shortly after that, Casey committed to Nebraska.
Casey said he found a home in Lincoln and described the switch from upstate New York to Lincoln to be fairly easy.
“The city of Lincoln reminds me of where I came from,” he said “It wasn’t very different. People are a bit nicer in Lincoln.”
Casey redshirted his freshman season and played in four games that year. As a sophomore, he played in every game with one start. In fall camp before the 2021 season, he suffered a knee injury and missed the first five games of the season.
“It was tough,” he said. “It was probably my best camp and I had high hopes for the fall. I had never really been injured like that before. It took a lot of dedication to rehab to overcome.”
Casey finished out the 2021 season through the last seven games racking in 17 total tackles and three tackles for loss.
As a senior at Nebraska, he has two years of eligibility after the 2021 season since he red-shirted his freshman year and like most student-athletes received a COVID year.
In the 14 games he played in his UNL career, he recorded 42 combined tackles with six tackles for loss. He also has tacked on two sacks and two pass deflections and a forced fumble.
In the midst of preparing for football, the NCAA declared independence from NIL restrictions in July 2021, which means student-athletes are now able to make money off their name, image and likeness.
Casey capitalized on this new regulation, partnering with companies like Honest Abe’s Burgers and Freedom and Athletes Branding Marketing (ABM). At Honest Abes, Rogers has his own french fries — the Bayou beatdown fries.
“I think more and more businesses are starting to see the benefits of partnering with college athletes,” he said. “I am excited to create more relationships with brands and organizations throughout the next two years.”