Zac Rogers signs with Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Mar. 21—Zac Rogers knows the power of hard work and believing in one's self.

The McAlester senior used just that to make one of his dreams come true as he signed to play college football with Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford next season.

Rogers has talked about his journey in football, and like he was almost born to play it.

"I've always been invested in football. My dad played football. So it has just been in the family," he said. "(And) my favorite part is just getting to enjoy it.

"There is something special — especially in this town — about Friday nights out on the Hook, man."

Rogers had 25 tackles, three sacks, and a pass deflection this season as he helped lead the defensive and offensive lines. Throughout his career in the trenches, he's been a steely presence and one of the Buffs' most vocal supporters.

He said that is all by design, as he wants to lift his teammates up so that they can all be the best version of themselves. And that's just one of the many qualities he will be taking with him to his new team in western Oklahoma.

But as he looked back on his life, Rogers said there were many people to thank for always being by his side and supporting him every step of the way in both football and in life.

"My mom, my dad, my stepmom, my stepdad for sure, my sister...a lot of really close friends and like just family members that try and make it," he said. "And (my teammates), I mean, I don't think I have a bigger supporter than any one of those guys. And I don't think they have a bigger supporter than me."

And although he has hung up his black and gold jersey for the final time, he gave a piece of advice to the next generation that will be carrying the mantle of the Buffaloes that came before them.

"They're going to try and steer you in the right way, because they want to see you succeed — because they're living their life through you believe it or not," Rogers said. "They're trying to see themselves succeed by making you the best you can be. And as soon as they understand that, the sooner they will buy in. And that's all they have to do, buy in and give effort."