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Washington State University

A silver lining

Sixth-year student-athlete Justus Rogers thankful after two tumultuous football seasons.

Justus Rogers comes from a line of collegiate athletes.

His father, Michael, was a linebacker for the University of Washington, and Michael’s father was a track and field athlete for the University of Oregon in the 1980s.

“Each generation paves the road for the next to help them get where they are, and I think the biggest thing is to keep raising that bar,” Rogers said. “My dad has always been there for me, coached me on all my sports. He’s someone I really look up to.”

Rogers, now a linebacker himself for WSU, shares the record for the highest number of career games in Cougar football history with teammate Jahad Woods. A sixth‑year student, Rogers was granted an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID‑19 pandemic’s disruption of the 2020 season.

“I’m thankful that seniors like me were able to come back for another year. It wouldn’t have ended the way we wanted it to last year,” Rogers said. “I’m happy we were able to play and prepare, and to go out the right way.”

Rogers and the team won the first Apple Cup victory against the UW Huskies since 2012, capping off a winning season. The Cougs face Central Michigan University in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas.

“The whole bowl atmosphere is always great, knowing that we’ve earned our right to be there,” Rogers said. “We get to enjoy the festivities and amenities they have for us. And there’s always good food.”

Rogers received his bachelor of arts in accounting in May and studied communications and sociology as a graduate student during the fall. He starts a 10‑week internship at CBIZ Berntson Porter, an accounting firm based in his hometown of Bellevue, on Jan. 11.

“One of the cofounders, Greg Porter, is a Coug alum. He played football here in the ’80s,” Rogers said. “That played a role in me deciding to go with that firm, but also because it’s in Bellevue and I liked the direction they’re going in.”

After his internship, Rogers plans to take certified public accountant exams during the summer and return to CBIZ Berntson Porter for a full‑time position as an auditor in the fall.

“I’ve been looking back on the things I’ve done in this program, the different milestones and events, relishing those moments,” Rogers said. “I’ve had a great six years here and made a lot of memories and a lot of new friends. I’d never change it for anything.”

Alysen Boston