Nov. 6, 2004
by Veronica White
UW Media Relations
The University of Washington homecoming football game Saturday against Arizona was indeed a homecoming for several former Husky football players that have moved on to make big names for themselves away from Seattle.
Perhaps the most famous football alumnus to visit Montlake Saturday has found fame off of the gridiron. Matt Rogers, an offensive lineman on the Huskies' 2000 team that won the 2001 Rose Bowl, was a finalist on the most recent season of "American Idol," the highly successful amateur singing contest on Fox TV.
Rogers was on hand to perform along with the Husky Marching Band during halftime. He sang several 50s standards to mark the 50th anniversary of the development of "doo-wap" music.
"It's awesome, I feel great to be here," Rogers said about being back in Seattle.
When asked about the biggest crowd Rogers has performed in front of thus far he said that today be the biggest.
"Yes, actual people in front of me, definitely," said Rogers. "The biggest was probably only 300 people in front of me and then the camera. I've got butterflies in my stomach. Hopefully my voice doesn't crack."
His success on the show has led to many other singing appearances and tons of coverage in national magazines and tabloids.
"It's opened up a lot of opportunites," said Rogers. "I've always wanted to be in the entertainment industry, so if anything it has pointed me in the right direction and opened up the right doors and I have met a lot of cool people."
From this point forward Rogers said he is not sure where his career will take him.
"I've always wanted to be an actor so we'll see," said Rogers. "Adam Sandler is coming out with a football movie called "The Longest Yard" and you'll see a little piece of me in that I think. You get in where you fit in."
Also in attendance on the Husky Stadium sidelines were former UW stars Reggie Williams and Rich Alexis, both now members of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars, in first place in the AFC South with a 5-3 record, have their bye week this Sunday, allowing for the two former Dawgs to return to where they starred in college.
Williams, the UW's all-time leading receiver in nearly every category, was selected in the first-round by the Jaguars while Alexis, the Huskies' leading rusher in three of his four college seasons, made the Jacksonville practice squad.
"The NFL is great, said Williams. "It's a nice job, it pays well, I love it. It's 85 degrees everyday, I'm enjoying it."
This weekend is Williams's first return to Washington since being drafted.
"It's cold, but it feels good to return to Washington," said Williams. "I'm glad I can come back and support my teammates and help the program. It's nice to have a weekend off. Everybody needs a break now and then."
Williams said that the biggest difference between playing in college and in the NFL is that the NFL "is a real job, it's like 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday."
When asked what he likes most about playing in the NFL Williams said, "Winning, man. It's fun and just to get the opportunity to play football all day everyday, you can't beat it."
As far as the rest of the season is concerned Williams said that making it to the Super Bowl is highest his goals.
Alexis was also happy to back in Seattle.
"It feels real good, I'm a Husky at heart," said Alexis. "I got my `little brother' Charles Frederick here. I want to come out here and show some support and show some support for Keith Gilbertson, my old coach. He was a great coach for me too. I'm enjoying myself, I love being back at Husky Stadium."
While he's not a member of the Jaguars' active roster, Alexis is glad to be with the team on the practice squad. "It feels real good," he said. "It's not a the place where I want to be, but like I said when I first got here I want to make the best of my opportunities. Any chance I get I want to take it and run with it."
Alexis' goals are perhaps not as lofty as his Jacksonville teammate Williams'.
"My goal is to be playing somewhere," Alexis said of his prospects for the next year. "I don't need to be a starter or anything, I got a lot to learn. But I just want to run the ball, I think I have a lot to offer."