We took a day off from the Rant Sports SEC 50 Players in 50 Days preview yesterday as we finished up on the defensive side of the football Thursday with South Carolina Gamecock safety DJ Swearinger. Today, we jump right back to the offensive side of the football and take a quick look at Tennessee Volunteer wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee:
Square on the hot seat, Derek Dooley is looking to have a big year in 2012 and it all starts with his offense, where Tennessee returns 10 starters on offense including four of five offensive linemen. Tyler Bray will once again take the snaps under center after a 2011 injury laden season in which he only threw for 1,983 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. Bray will have a ton of talent at wide receiver in 2012, including 2011 SEC receptions leader Da’Rick Rogers.
Rogers finished 2011 with 67 receptions, which was good enough to lead the conference in 2011. His 1,040 yards was second behind Arkansas Razorback Jarius Wright. He also had nine touchdowns which was second among SEC receivers. Rogers will lead a talented Volunteer receiving corp, that will include Justin Hunter and newcomer, Cordarrelle Patterson. Hunter spent all but three games of the 2011 season sidelined with an injury but should be 100% come August 31. Patterson, the top junior college player in the land, will come to Knoxville after catching 61 passes for 924 yards and 15 touchdowns at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
Rogers became the sixth Volunteer receiver to post a 1,000 yard season with his performance in 2011. Another key stat for Rogers, 54 of his 67 receptions went for touchdowns or first downs. His outstanding performance made him an Associated Press All SEC First Team selection. Moving forward to 2012, Rogers was selected as First Team All SEC and Second Team All American in several preseason publications. More important than his preseason honors, was the fact that he was given the “Big Lick Award” after the Vols finished up spring practice for showing physical toughness.
Tennessee has almost everything in place in 2012 to contend for an SEC East title. One question mark is the running game, which finished 2011 ranked 116 out of 120 teams. With an elite quarterback, four starters up front and one of the top wide receiving corps in the nation returning, the Volunteers should be squarely in the mix for a conference title in 2012.