Mingo, Rogers built ‘bond for life’ in HS, will square off in Egg Bowl Thursday
Mississippi State QB Will Rogers just broke Dak Prescott’s record for single-season passing touchdowns and yards. Ole Miss receiver Jonathan Mingo averaged almost 100 receiving yards and a touchdown per game in his first three.
Before making strides in the SEC, the two were teammates at Brandon high school and turned into best friends.
“We were probably throwing two or three times per week,” Rogers said. “After church, we were up at the football field. There were no if, ands or buts about it. On Sundays we were out there.”
“We would hang out all the time. I was at his house all the time and had a great relationship with his mom, little brother, sister and dad,” Mingo said. “They are just like family to me. Every time we see each other, we speak.”
One of the reasons they got so close is because they’re both gym rats. Wyatt Rogers, Brandon’s offensive coordinator and Will’s father, found that out quickly.
“I rode by the old high school field. The lights were on, on prom night and there the two of them were with three footballs throwing and catching,” Wyatt Rogers said.
While they now play on opposite sides of a big rivalry, the day-to-day communication doesn’t stop.
“We text each other ‘let’s be great today’. We tell each other that we love each other. I remember one day I forgot to text him and he said he needs his text before the game starts,” Mingo said.
“Those conversations can be about ball, who they’re playing this week, how he’s feeling since he was banged up. I’ve been checking in on him. We just talk about life sometimes,” Will Rogers said.
Mingo was ‘banged up’ after suffering a broken foot in September. Will called his father emotional about the news. The Rogers family was ecstatic when Mingo made his return in the Rebels’ 31-17 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Jonathan and Will’s bond isn’t breaking anytime soon.
Jonathan’s mother, Tonja, thinks the way their relationship has blossomed since high school is great.
“Even though they’re in different places, they’ll always be close,” Tonja said.
“They’ll be friends no matter what happens Thursday,” Wyatt said. “They’ll be friends for a long time.”
“Will is my brother. We talk about our dreams, goals and aspirations every day.” Jonathan said.
“I definitely think I wouldn’t be the same player today without Mingo. He’d say the same thing,” Will said. “We’ve helped each other become better football players and people. He’s my brother and one of my best friends. He means the world to me.”
Kickoff on Thursday is at 6:30 on ESPN.