Rogers makes his bid

True freshman Quintin Hancock clearly is the most pleasant surprise of Tennessee's receiving corps, advancing from unheralded rookie to likely contributor during a spectacular preseason. He isn't the only pleasant surprise among the wideouts, however.

Austin Rogers, a 6-2, 185-pound sophomore from Nashville, has turned some heads, as well. Rogers was one of the most consistent pass catchers in preseason scrimmages. He caught two balls for 25 yards in Scrimmage No. 1, two for 33 in Scrimmage No. 2 and three for 36 in Scrimmage No. 3.

Rogers' seven catches ranked fourth behind Hancock (10), Robert Meachem (9) and Lucas Taylor (8). His 94 receiving yards ranked fourth behind the same trio. Hancock had 149 receiving yards, Meachem 122 and Taylor 115.

Receivers coach Trooper Taylor has been encouraged by Rogers' preseason work.

"Austin's doing really well," the Vol aide said. "I've been more proud of his blocking. He's come on a lot there. And he's starting to make the tough catches."

Rogers had no obvious drops in the three full-scale scrimmages but there was one ball Taylor thought he could've caught that he didn't. That occurred last Saturday in Scrimmage No. 2.

"I was disappointed Saturday because Antwan Stewart was over Austin's back a little bit and he had a chance to make a play in a tight situation but he didn't make the play," the Vol aide noted. "Those are the types of plays you have to make in the SEC because those defensive backs from Florida and everywhere else are going to be that way.

"Austin's got to understand that if you can't separate, you'd better make a play with somebody leaning over you. I think he understands that now."

In limited backup action last fall Rogers recorded an 18-yard reception against Ole Miss and a 26-yard run on an end-around against Kentucky.

What follows are the unofficial receiving statistics I compiled for the three preseason scrimmages:

Hancock caught 1 for 45, 5 for 68 and 4 for 36 … Total: 10 for 149 yards (14.9 per catch)

Meachem caught 3 for 28, 4 for 74 and 2 for 20 … Total: 9 for 122 yards (13.5 per catch)

Taylor caught 3 for 37, 3 for 67 and 2 for 11 … Total: 8 for 115 yards (14.4 per catch)

Rogers caught 2 for 25, 2 for 33 and 3 for 36 … Total: 7 for 94 yards (13.4 per catch)

Jayson Swain caught 4 for 54, 3 for 38 and 0 for 0 … Total: 7 for 92 yards (13.1 per catch)

Josh Briscoe caught 3 for 48, 1 for 20 and 0 for 0 … Total: 4 for 68 yards (17.0 per catch)

Bret Smith caught 1 for 5, 0 for 0 and 2 for 43 … Total: 3 for 48 yards (16.0 per catch)

Casey Woods caught 1 for 13, 0 for 0 and 0 for 0 … Total: 1 for 13 yards (13.0 per catch)

Slick Shelley caught 0 for 0, 1 for 10 and 0 for 0 … Total: 1 for 10 yards (10.0 per catch)

Bill Grimes caught 0 for 0, 0 for 0 and 0 for 0 … Total: 0 for 0 yards (0.0 per catch).


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