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Former Alabama national champion speaks at FDA

Former University of Alabama national champion Chris Rogers led a Roll-Tide chant before speaking to Fort Dale Academy students in grades 5-12 Friday morning.

Former University of Alabama national champion Chris Rogers led a Roll-Tide chant before speaking to Fort Dale Academy students in grades 5-12 Friday morning.

NCAA seniors looking to be drafted by an NFL team have about a 2 percent chance of success.

Former University of Alabama defensive back Chris Rogers visited Fort Dale Academy Friday morning to discuss what happens in life after football to the other 98 percent.

Rogers, a member of the 2009 Alabama championship-winning roster, is perhaps more known today for his own organization, TAP (Together Assisting People) Inc.

The non-profit organization was established just a year later in an effort to prepare athletes to be successful beyond the realm of athletics.

TAP aims to accomplish that goal by targeting young teens in the process of making the transition to higher education, and teaching them small but valuable lessons for surviving in the professional world—how to tie a tie, how to present oneself in an interview, social media etiquette, etc.

FDA headmaster David Brantley said that it was after one such talk during one of his grandson’s summer camps that he was inspired to bring Rogers to Fort Dale.

“I appreciate his passion, and I appreciate his love for young people,” Brantley said.

“He is making a difference.”

Rogers himself had plenty of experiences as far as potential roadblocks for athletes.  With a brother who was involved in gangs, a number of unhealthy distractions surrounded him on his path to becoming a successful athlete.

But Rogers opted to channel the same work ethic used to help win a national championship at Alabama into building a successful career for himself off the football field.

And he did it by ignoring those temptations.

“Don’t worry about being cool,” Rogers told an inquisitive Fort Dale student body Friday morning.

“One of my best friends was a super cool kid, and he was arrested yesterday for selling drugs.  In 10 or 15 years, the people who were super cool in school could be working for you.”

The realization dawned on him in the wake of his national championship that there was a very small chance of a career in the NFL.  It was then that Rogers decided to transform himself from a kid who only developed reading skills in ninth grade into a holder of both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Alabama.

And though Rogers had various inspirations along the way, including a mother who worked two jobs to support him and Alabama coach Nick Saban, who proved an instrumental father figure, he added that his biggest supported had to be himself.

“One thing that has carried me in life is not my ability to run or jump, but rather my ability to believe in myself,” Rogers said.

“So many people are quick to believe in others, but true belief has to come from oneself.”