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January 5, 2011Oregon State University senior flanker/returner James Rodgers has been granted a medical hardship for 2010 and will be eligible for the 2011 season, the Pac-10 Conference announced Wednesday. Rodgers' hardship year was granted in part to him not using a redshirt season at OSU.
"I'm thankful for this opportunity and that I have another chance to play at Oregon State," Rodgers said. "I want to thank the fans and everyone for their support."
Rodgers will likely enter his senior year as a postseason honors candidate after being preseason All-American according to several publications prior to the 2010 season and was a first team All-Pac-10 performer in 2009.
The loss of the team co-captain was a major blow to the Beavers' offense. Rodgers suffered a season-ending left knee injury at Arizona and left the 2010 team ranked sixth in the nation for all-purpose yards per game at 176.8, sixth for punt return yards per return at 18.3 and 18th for kickoff return yards per return at 28.7. He qualified for a medical hardship per NCAA rules - 14.2.4 - a student-athlete is eligibile if he/she has participated in a maximum of 30 percent of the scheduled games - Rodgers participated in four of the team's first five games which is actually 33 percent, but the NCAA rounds up the total games to make it four competitions allowed - he missed the Oct. 2 Arizona State game with a concussion. The medical hardship was granted by the Pac-10 Faculty Athletic Representatives Committee.
"We always believed that James met the requirements to gain a fifth year," head coach Mike Riley said. "But it is certainly nice to make everything official. James is a special person and a special player. I'm excited to get to work with him for another year."
Rodgers' return bolsters a receiving corps that is set to return starting split end Markus Wheaton and first-string slotback Jordan Bishop as well as starting H-Back Joe Halahuni. Rodgers set the school's single season record with 91 receptions in 2009 when he also became the ninth player in OSU history to surpass 1,000-yards receiving in a single season. In addition, Rodgers is Oregon State's career leader in all-purpose yards with 5,784.