THE TEN AT 10:
1. Tennessee released its first depth chart of the 2010 season this week and guess who wasn’t on it? Da’Rick Rogers. The five-star wide receiver from Calhoun didn’t make the two-deep . Gerald Jones and Zach Rogers were listed at one wideout and Denarius Moore and fellow true freshman Justin Hunter were listed at the other. Oddly enough, Hunter isn’t even practicing at the moment. His freshman eligibility is still hung up at the NCAA Clearinghouse. But obviously the Vols believe the young speedster will be cleared before Saturday’s opener against UT-Martin.
As for Rogers, his omission set off some anxiety-riddled exchanges on message boards such as VolNation.com. “Was he overrated?” some asked. “Has he not been putting forth enough effort in practice?” others wondered. I tend to side with the group that thinks Rogers is simply being sent a message by coach Derek Dooley and his staff. Lest we forget, Rogers was arrested earlier this summer for his role in a Knoxville bar brawl. In fact, his court date for those infractions (disorderly conduct, resisting arrest) still awaits on Sept. 14. And while Dooley never announced a formal punishment for Rogers, word is the freshman was dealt some internal discipline. Perhaps being slighted on the first lineup card of the year is another way to get Rogers’ attention.
Nevertheless, Rogers is expected to play in the game at some point Saturday. He reportedly has had an up-and-down camp. But it remains my contention that the 6-foot-3, 210-pound athlete, ranked the No. 1 prospect in Georgia last year, will end up starring for the Vols before the season is over.
2. Guess who was on the Vols’ two deep? JaWuan James. In fact, the 6-foot-7, 313-pound offensive lineman out of North Gwinnett is set to start at right tackle for UT. Dooley was asked at the game week media luncheon Monday how he felt about James winning the job. “I’m as comfortable as probably any coach could ever be with a true freshman starting at right tackle,” Dooley said, meaning he’s not. “JaWuan could barely breathe in the mock game [last week] from anxiety, and there was nobody in the stands. You can’t forget that he’s a true freshman. We laughed at it in the staff meeting today because we act like the guy’s a junior. He’s like one of our veterans because he’s been here seven months, not two months. He’s extremely mature. He’s very balanced. He’s intelligent. He’s going to be a really good player.”
3. Staying with the Vols here, did you catch the performance by Tennessee commitment Justin Worley this past weekend? The 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback from Northwestern High in Rock Hill, S.C., threw six touchdowns — including five in a span of less than five minutes — to lead his team to a 48-20 come-from-behind victory in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU. What’s more, his performance came against a defense featuring the No. 1-ranked prospect in the nation, South Pointe, S.C.’s, Jadeveon Clowney.
4. Turning to basketball, Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-foot-10 post player who was giving Georgia Tech a hard look, committed to Kentucky this past weekend. Wiltjer was also considering Cal, Gonzaga, Kansas, Texas and Wake Forest.
5. One of Milton’s six Division I basketball prospects made his college decision known on Sunday. The AJC’s Michael Carvell reports that Milton guard Jordan Lloyd committed to Furman. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound wing chose the Purple Paladins over Rice, Dartmouth, Cornel, Army, Wichita State, Winthrop and Minnesota.
7. I covered the Parkview-Stephenson game last Friday as part of the broadcast crew for the Channel 2 “Sports Zone Game of the Week” (we’re at Peachtree Ridge-Roswell this week). In case you missed it, Stephenson came from behind to record a 21-14 win in double-overtime. A couple of observations from that game: One, I think Parkview may be better than a lot of people think this season. The Panthers are stout on defense and that can keep you in any game. Two, the Jaguars, No. 6 in Class AAAAA, are better than they displayed Friday. Turnovers and special teams miscues undermined an otherwise dominant performance. Parkview’s 14 points came on defensive touchdowns.
8. I discovered some college prospects I didn’t know much about beforehand. From Parkview, I was impressed with seniors Ike Onike (DE/RB), Walter McGriff (OL/DL), Kenny Flowers (LB) and Joe Anderson (DB). Perhaps the best looking prospect on the field this past Saturday was Parkview junior linebacker Raphael Kirby. Standing out for Stephenson were junior offensive and defensive lineman Jafar Mann, senior defensive backs Kadetrix Marcus and David Stevenson (UConn commitment), defensive end Preston Smith, quarterback Jordan Tarver (Kent) and wide receiver Ceyron Willingham (Middle Tennessee). Based on what I saw the Jaguars’ entire secondary may end up being the best in the state when it’s all said and done.
9. Remember Nickell Robey, the little cornerback from Frostproof, Fla., who decommitted to Georgia and ended up signing with Southern Cal and Lane Kiffin? Well it was announced this week that he will start at cornerback for the Trojans, according to the L.A. Times. He might also return some kicks and is on their punt-block team. Not sure if that says more about Robey’s ability or USC’s depth issues but pretty impressive either way.
10. THIS & THAT: Five-star WR Kasen Williams of Sammarish, Wash., decided to stay close to home and committed to the Washington Huskies on Friday. Williams had Georgia Tech among his finalists. . . . Texas commitment Quandre Diggs, a running back from Angleton, Texas, accounted for 420 total yards in a game last weekend, including 276 yards rushing. His team lost. . . . Five-star prospect James Wilder Jr., who committed to Florida State as a running back, had 86 yards on 15 carries for Tampa-Plant last weekend. But his team lost 48-10 to Manatee, which was led by four-star running back Mike Blakely (140 yards, 3 TDs).
Later today: What freshmen will contribute for Georgia this season?