Impact frosh: Da'Rick Rogers

This is the eighth installment in a series of articles profiling the true freshmen who appear most likely to make immediate impact on Tennessee's 2010 football season.

When you have five stars beside your name, you're supposed to be special ... special enough to play as a true freshman at the collegiate level.

Da' Rick Rogers got five stars from Scout.com last winter, which suggests he is special enough to play a key role in Tennessee's wide receiver mix this fall. Rogers has more going for him than a mere star rating, however.

The product of Calhoun (Ga.) High School has great size (6-3, 215 pounds). He has good speed and agility. He has excellent running ability after the catch. And he has a resume' that features some truly imposing numbers. For instance:

Rogers caught 66 passes for 1,300 yards as a junior, an average of 19.69 yards per catch. Then he came back as a senior and reeled in 84 passes for a state-record 1,641 yards, an average of 19.53 yards per catch.

Guys who average nearly 20 yards per catch don't come along every day. In fact, only one Tennessee receiver has come close in the past two decades. That would be Robert Meachem, who averaged 18.3 yards per catch as a junior in 2006, then jumped to the NFL.

Rogers' chances are further enhanced by the fact Tennessee has just four scholarship receivers back from 2009 - seniors Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore, sophomores Marsalis Teague and Zach Rogers.

Jones caught 46 passes last fall, Moore 40, Teague 13 and Zach Rogers 3. Clearly, there is a significant drop-off in production after the top two. That suggests Da'Rick Rogers has a shot at being the No. 3 receiver when the Vols open Sept. 4 against UT-Martin.

Rogers' big-play knack makes him a perfect complement for Jones, Moore and senior tight end Luke Stocker. Jones averaged 14.8 yards on 46 receptions last fall, Moore 13.5 on 40 grabs and Stocker 13.4 on 29 catches. A deep threat of Rogers' ilk can force opposing safeties to back up a few steps, giving Jones, Moore and Stocker more room to operate underneath.

There is one obvious hurdle in Da'Rick Rogers' quest to be a major force in Tennessee's 2010 receiving corps. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest 10 days ago in connection with a campus-area bar fight that sent two men to UT Medical Center for treatment.

Rogers' role in the altercation has been the subject of much speculation over the past 10 days. Even if the justice system elects not to punish him, Vol head coach Derek Dooley might. That means there's a chance Da'Rick Rogers and his five stars may sit out part or all of the 2010 season.

Of course, there's also a chance he'll not only play in 2010 but show precisely why he got those five stars.


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