Georgia fans who thought the storm had blown over for Da’Rick Rogers when Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron blew out of Knoxville are going to have to think again.
The Vols, under the direction of new coach Derek Dooley, were back in Calhoun Monday night recruiting both Rogers, a longtime Georgia commitment and the No. 1 player in the AJC’s Top 50, and his quarterback/best friend Nash Nance. Once again, the record-setting duo has agreed to take an official visit to Tennessee.
The date was arranged after UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, one of the lone holdovers from Kiffin’s staff, visited with the two players in the Nance home Monday night.
“Coach Chaney from Tennessee came by [Monday] night,” said Nance, who is actually a longtime Vanderbilt commitment but has been heavily recruited by a number of schools of late. “He said ‘Coach Dooley wants to come down and see you guys but he really wants y’all to come up and visit.’ He said the [scholarship] offers are still on the table. He said Coach Dooley has seen my film and thinks I’d fit in well there.”
Nance said both he and Rogers agreed to take the visit.
“Yes, sir, we figured we’d go check it out,” Nance said.
Two weeks ago Kiffin and Orgeron had sat in the same Calhoun living room and convinced Rogers and Nance to take an official, which they were going to do this weekend. But they canceled after Kiffin and Orgeron left for Southern Cal. Now they’re back in.
The difference this time, Nance said, is he and his buddy aren’t necessarily being recruited as a “package deal.”
“It was kind of funny really,” said Nance “Usually [recruiters] are quick to talk to Da’Rick about that. But they didn’t really talk about that this time. Coach Chaney really focused a lot on me. He didn’t talk to Da’Rick that much. Of course, he said they’d love to have Da’Rick up there. But he spent a lot of one-on-one time with me.
“Really, honestly, it’s not as big of a deal as people talk about. People talk package deals and all that, but we’re looking at it separately. We’ve talked about playing together but if it doesn’t happen it’s fine with me.”
But Nance and Rogers are extremely close. Nance said Rogers stays over at his house usually one or two nights a week and Nance’s parents have been almost like surrogates to Rogers, who lives with his mother just across town.
Nance is a pretty strong prospect in his own right. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 212 pounds, Nance completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,018 yards with 29 TDs and only 8 interceptions last season. Of course, half of those yards went to the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rogers, who established the state receiving record with 1,641 yards.
But Nance is now attracting a lot of his own attention. Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton was in Calhoun Monday and offered Nance a scholarship. So did Louisville coach Charlie Strong, who called with an offer on Tuesday. Nance has long held an offer from Mississippi State. He plans to visit one of the three on the weekend of the 29th. Rogers very likely could make that trip with Nance as well.
There has also been some mutual interest from both Nance and Rogers and Florida but the Gators may be running out of room. Neither Georgia nor Georgia Tech have offered Nance.
So what about Vanderbilt, to whom Nance has been committed since early June?
“I’m still committed to Vanderbilt,” said Nance, a 4.0 student who took his official visit to Nashville this past weekend. “I just want to take my visits and make sure I’m making the right decision.”
There’s actually a little more to it than that. Nance was assured by coach Bobby Johnson and staff that he was going to be the only quarterback taken. But the Commodores have since signed junior college transfer Jordan Rodgers, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“I committed to Vanderbilt pretty early and I didn’t have all these offers on the table,” Nance said. “I’ve just been very blessed and very honored to have these opportunities. I’m trying to figure out the best decision for me.”
And ultimately, that could influence Rogers.