Signee profile: Zach Rogers

One offensive prospect being recruited by Tennessee last fall was so concerned by the inefficiency of the 2008 Vol attack that he questioned his brother about it.

Fortunately, his brother happened to be UT receiver Austin Rogers. So, after getting a satisfactory response from his sibling, Zach Rogers publicly committed to the Big Orange.

The obvious question: What did Austin say was wrong with Tennessee's 2008 offense?

"He just said it was a little confusing, a little too complicated," Zach Rogers recalled by phone from his Nashville home. "He said this year it's a little better concepts and a lot simpler playbook. He said guys are grasping it better and having a lot better time with it."

Naturally, that's great news for Zach, who projects to join his brother as a member of UT's receiver corps. He caught just 14 passes for Lipscomb High last fall but scored touchdowns on six of them and averaged a whopping 26.4 yards per catch. He reeled in 29 passes for 688 yards (23.7 per catch) as a junior.

"I also played safety the past three years," he explained, "but the coaches want me on offense at first. If they need me on defense, though, I'll do that ... wherever I can make impact or whatever they need me to do."

At 6-2 and 175 pounds, Rogers has a build almost identical to that of his brother. Their football skills are similar, as well.

"A lot of people say we're like twins on the field," Zach said. "We offer the same stuff – run good routes, block pretty well and catch the ball well. I try to model my game after him because he's been very successful."

Although Austin had a vested interest in seeing Tennessee add some quality prospects last February, he never encouraged his younger brother to sign with the Vols.

"No, he just wanted me to make the best decision I could," Zach recalled. "He told me to enjoy the process, make the best of it."

Still, Austin was pleased when Zach elected to join him in Big Orange Country.

"He was extremely excited," Zach said. "We've never gotten to play together; we've always been one year off. With him redshirting his sophomore year at UT, that opened the door for us to finally be teammates. That's extremely exciting, and we're looking forward to it."

Although he won four events at the Class 3A state track meet as a junior, the younger of the Rogers brothers is working hard to improve his speed. As a result, he says he is consistently clocking in "the low 4.4s" over 40 yards these days.

"The main thing I bring to the lineup is my speed," he added. "I feel I'm definitely a downfield threat. I try to extend the defense as much as possible."

Describing himself as "good to go" academically, Rogers says he plans to enroll for the second session of summer school at UT. First, though, he has some unfinished business at Lipscomb High School: Today he'll compete in the TSSAA baseball championships. On Friday he'll compete as a long jumper in the TSSAA track and field championships.

Like his brother, Zach Rogers is a low-key guy who does not seek the spotlight. Lately, though, the spotlight has been seeking him.

"It's just weird; everybody knows me now that I signed with Tennessee," he said. "I'm not used to the limelight, so it's something I guess I'll need to get used to. That's been the weirdest thing."

In keeping with his low-key personality, Zach's goal for his freshman season is pretty basic.

"Just try to make an impact, get on the field and help wherever they need me," he said. "I'll probably start out on special teams. I just want to do whatever I can to help us win this season."

Austin returned punts earlier in his UT career, and Zach hopes to get that same opportunity someday.

"I did some punt returns in high school and also some kickoff returns," he said. "I'd like to try to do something along those lines."

Andrew Bone, whose territories as a recruiting expert include Tennessee, believes Rogers could contribute in his first year as a Vol.

"Zach Rogers is speedy wide receiver who can spread the field and burn defensive backs on the fly," Bone writes. "He has great hands to go along with speed and quickness. Rogers is an all-around great athlete who can play on both sides of the ball, but expects to play receiver in Knoxville.

"He has a chance to play early for the Volunteers and could earn a spot immediately on special teams."

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