"King George," a one-hour documentary produced by ESPN Films in association with NFL Films and directed by James Weiner, goes deep into the playing career of the Gamecocks' first and only Heisman Trophy winner, George Rogers.
Before the native of Duluth, Georgia suited up in the fall of 1977, the South Carolina football program hadn't experienced much success. In fact, the Gamecocks had not won eight games in a season since 1903. But once George Washington Rogers took his first handoff, everything began to change. In this evocative and touching film, the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner gets to tell his own story with humor, honesty and humility.
"With the incredible success George Rogers had in 1980 on his way to winning the Heisman, it would have been easy for him to get carried away with himself," says director James Weiner. "But that's not what happened and it's certainly not what I found when I interviewed George and talked to others about him. Through the ups and downs in his life, he's remained humble and appreciative of those who've been there to support him along the way."
Rogers is revered for setting South Carolina on a winning path, leading the team to 8-4 records in both his junior and senior seasons. He is also beloved for uniting the state in collective hope as he made his successful run to the Heisman Trophy. And while Rogers didn't fully realize his promise as the No. 1 pick of the 1981 NFL Draft, he did enjoy an outstanding rookie season and helped lead the '87 Redskins to a Super Bowl title while demonstrating that he was the consummate team player. Today there stands a statue of him on the Columbia, South Carolina campus, not just for the runner that he was, but for the man that he became as he persevered through personal and family struggles. The statue depicts Rogers standing on a bench in support of his teammates. As his Redskins coach, Joe Gibbs, says, "He had a great heart."