Since arriving at Tennessee three years ago, Da’Rick Rogers has been equal parts exciting playmaker on the field, and frustrating headache off of it. And on Thursday morning, the “frustrating headache” part arose again, as the school announced that the dynamic wide receiver has been suspended indefinitely from the team.
No details were announced as the cause of the suspension, but it is hardly surprising given Rogers track record since arriving at the school. The former five-star recruit, who was one of the pearls of Derek Dooley’s first recruiting class, has run into trouble before. He was involved in a bar fight prior to his freshman year, and was also suspended during this past off-season, after an incident allegedly involving a run-in with a strength and conditioning coach. Rogers was reinstated this spring, despite the call from some to kick him off the team for good.
Now he is suspended, as the Vols enter a crucial Week 1 game against NC State. The Wolfpack finished last year just 8-5, but won six of their last eight and enter the 2012 season with major sleeper buzz. Add in the fact that Dooley finds himself squarely on the hot seat after a 5-7 second season at Tennessee last year, and there’s no doubt how much this blow hurts. Rogers led the SEC with 67 catches last year for 1,040 yards.
However if there is one place that the Vols should be able to handle a key loss like Rogers’ it is at wide receiver. Tennessee welcomes back stud Justin Hunter, who missed most of the 2011 season with an ACL injury, as well as junior college All-American Cordarrelle Patterson as well. Junior quarterback Tyler Bray returns from an up-and-down 2011 season which saw him throw for 1,983 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Vols were picked to finish fifth in the SEC East in preseason polls.
Now they enter an uncertain season, with uncertainty surrounding one of their best players.
Update: Per Tennessee beat writer Wes Rucker's Twitter account, the "expectation" at Tennessee is that Rogers will not play for the Vols this year.
Dooley: "Our expectation" is Da'Rick Rogers won't play at all this season, but nothing set It stone. Process.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) August 23, 2012
Again, as of right now, Rogers remains indefintely suspended. Whether that means he can return to the team in time, will booted off for good, will play somewhere else this season, or a number of different scenarios remains to be seen.
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