COMMENTARY: Thank you, James Rodgers

MOST BEAVER FANS likely woke up with a smile on their faces Sunday morning. Yes, Oregon State in a thriller really did knock off No. 9 Arizona on the road last night. But that smile just as surely vanished as soon as their thoughts turned to James Rodgers.

Sunday morning brought more clarity to the injury situation, though still less than definitive word. James Rodgers will have an MRI on Sunday, but the results won't be in until Tuesday.

But it already feels – definitively -- like a foregone conclusion.

"James' condition is not good," Mike Riley was quoted by the Corvallis Gazette-Times. "I'm not going to tell you the specifics of it (until later)."


If Rodgers is in fact lost for the season, he would be eligible for a medical hardship waiver according to OSU. Rodgers never redshirted, and missed Week 4 with a concussion. Players like Rodgers are eligible if they play less than 30 percent of a season. If the NCAA sees Rodgers as having played four games total, he wouldn't be eligible for the medical hardship. If the NCAA takes into account he did not play in the final quarter against Boise State, nor the second half of the Arizona game, he is below the 30 percent threshold and therefore eligible.

Rodgers, who is scheduled to graduate in December, was also being touted by some draft gurus as one of the better receivers available in the 2011 NFL Draft.

If he doesn't return to OSU next year, if he enters the draft or the NCAA goes an unnecessarily penal route, one thing should be said loudest.

Thank you, James Rodgers.

RODGERS CAME TO Oregon State, as Beaver fans well know, an unheralded, undersized 5-foot-7 receiver. Plenty of schools offered his 5-foot-7 running back brother, Jacquizz Rodgers. But major college programs didn't recruit James.

But not only did James Rodgers play as a true freshman in the Pac-10, his abilities were such that he forced Oregon State to change their offense. And he gave Pac-10 defensive coordinators nightmares from the get-go.

That first year, he introduced the fly sweep to the Pac-10 and Beaver fans, gaining 586 rushing yards. Year 2 saw a much more complete receiver take the field, while also doing damage in the return game.

Last year, he simply became a yardage machine in the Pac-10, his 1,034 receiving yards a part of 2,328 total yards.

He had 91 catches in 2009, sixth most ever in Pac-10 history and tops all-time at Oregon State. He was on his way this year to setting the all-time mark at Oregon State for pass receptions this season, and he became OSU's career leader in all-purpose yards earlier this fall.

AND, OREGON STATE says, he's even more impressive off the field than on.

The OSU Athletics Communications staff called him an Everyday Champion in an article earlier this year, noting Rodgers' "countless community service events on and off campus, and (he) has been role model for many…He is what epitomizes the term individual who has made Beaver Nation proud."

If last night was the end of Rodgers' OSU playing career, he'll be remembered as one of the best ever in Corvallis -- for so many, many reasons.

Thank you, James. Thanks.

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