Tennessee receiver Da’rick Rogers — an All-SEC selection last year — is in the news again. And that’s got Vol fans worried.
First, some background. Rogers was initially committed to Georgia until Derek Dooley — who’d just taken over at Tennessee — flipped his commitment late in the process in 2010 by signing a package deal with Rogers’ high school quarterback buddy and Vanderbilt target Nash Nance.
By July of that year, Rogers had been arrested for his role in a bar brawl involving a number of Tennessee teammates. Since then, his attitude has come into question repeatedly.
Reporters saw him yelling at former UT receivers coach Charlie Baggett on the sideline of the Vols’ loss to Kentucky last fall. Shortly after that game, Baggett retired (but was paid a severance package as though he’d been dismissed).
This offseason Rogers missed two weeks of workouts with Tennessee’s training staff. It was reported at the time that he had had multiple altercations with the Vols’ strength and conditioning coaches.
During a pre-spring press conference on Sunday, Dooley said that Rogers had had a good offseason but he refused to discuss his suspension from workouts. “He’s like the rest of the team. He’s shown a lot of progress, he grew as a player emotionally, but he has a long way to go.”
The mercurial wideout was on the practice fields Monday and Tuesday of this week.
But Volquest.com — the Rivals site covering Tennessee — reported that Rogers was not expected to be at practice today. InsideTennessee.com — the Scout site covering the Vols — confirmed that he is not on hand. (That’s all behind paywalls, folks.)
All this follows two mysterious tweets from Rogers last night:
“Georgia State. Wasup?”
“I cannot wait to talk to the media tomorrow. It finally comes out.”
Dooley is expected to address Rogers’ status with the Volunteer squad this morning after UT’s practice. Until then, Vol fans must once again wonder if the player who had 67 catches for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns last season will indeed be wearing orange this fall.
Tennessee’s coach can’t afford another season of internal chemistry issues on his football team. But with his job likely on the line this fall, Dooley might not be able to afford the loss of one of his most talented players, either.