Best of the decade: KRs

This is the 18th in a series of articles ranking Tennessee's best players of the decade 2000-2009. Today's focus: Kick returners.

1. LaMARCUS COKER: He averaged 20.0 yards on nine returns as a redshirt freshman in '06 and 26.7 yards on 21 runbacks as a sophomore in '07, the year the NCAA moved kickoffs from the 35-yard line to the 30. Coker appeared primed for a spectacular junior year but the 5-11, 195-pound speedster was dismissed from the team prior to the '08 season, bringing a premature end to an ultra-promising career as a tailback/return specialist. He finished with 30 career returns for 740 yards and a 24.7-yard average that ranks fourth on UT's all-time list.

2. DENNIS ROGAN: As a freshman in 2007 he averaged a whopping 29.5 yards per return, which would've led the SEC except that he had too few runbacks (13) to meet the league minimum. Rogan's greatest moment came that fall against Vanderbilt, when he helped the Vols rally from a 24-9 fourth-quarter deficit to win 25-24 by returning a kickoff 41 yards and a punt 45 yards. After averaging 24.9 yards per runback as a sophomore in '08, he fell victim to the coaching staff's infatuation with Nu'keese Richardson in 2009, returning just two kickoffs for 52 yards. Rogan skipped his senior year to turn pro, finishing his UT career with 43 returns for 1,133 yards, a hefty 26.3-yard average that ranks second all-time at UT.

3. LEONARD SCOTT: He wasn't particularly adept at reading blocks or breaking tackles but this track sprinter could run like the wind. That's how he averaged 27.0 yards on 20 returns as a sophomore in 1999, 23.6 as a junior in 2000 and 20.9 as a senior in 2001. Scott posted a 100-yard return (vs. Georgia in '99), a feat only three other Vols have accomplished. His 77 career returns and 1,788 career return yards rank second to Willie Gault on UT's all-time lists. Scott's career average was 23.2 yards per runback.

4. COREY LARKINS: Built like a bowling ball at 5-8 and 205 pounds, his low center of gravity made him difficult to tip over. The reserve tailback averaged 17.0 yards on four returns as a freshman in 2001, 23.5 yards on 26 runbacks in '02, 20.4 on 19 returns in '03 and 17.2 on 14 returns as a senior in '04. His career totals show 63 returns, 1,307 yards and a 20.7-yard average.

5. DAVID OKU: He has returned kicks for just one year and he surely has benefited from the 2007 NCAA rule moving kickoffs from the 35-yard line to the 30. Still, Oku's 26.2-yard average on 33 runbacks in 2009 has him on pace to become one of Tennessee's all-time best return men. With three years of eligibility remaining, the 5-10, 195-pounder has the vision, elusiveness and burst to be exceptional.

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