No one knows the whole story behind why Da'Rick Rogers is no longer with us, although it is clear the two parties left on pretty bad terms. But with his dismissal from the team, he joins a cast of characters that would make a pretty damn good team by itself of wasted talent to come through the UT pipeline.
Cameron Clear was a promising prospect at Tight End and a four star prospect according to Rivals who was the most recent dismissal from UT until Rogers. His dismissal was for breaking into fellow student-athlete's dorm rooms and stealing high priced electronics, eventually earning attention from Knoxville police. His presence on the team is hard to replace and with a rash of injuries to Tight Ends this offseason makes it sting even more.
Janzen Jackson was a second team all-SEC selection at strong safety in 2010 prior to his dismissal in August of 2011 by Dooley for conduct detrimental to the team. Which in Janzen's case meant multiple failed drug tests.
Some forget how much that one hurt. Jackson had made 22
starts in 23 games in two seasons, and was expected to be a key part of the secondary. There's no doubt that we felt that loss in the corresponding column in the record books.
He was on his way to being a high draft pick should he have come out after his junior year as was expected, but he ended up in Giants' camp as an undrafted free agent and then cut from the team in the preseason.
Jackson was a consensus 5 star talent coming out of high school, recruited by Lane Kiffin.
Brown was a 5 star talent coming out of high school and the #1 player in the country according to Rivals.com. He ended a lengthened recruiting process which would mirror his unconventional career by selecting Tennesseee after being committed to Miami for much of the year.
Lane Kiffin had big plans for Brown and immediately inserted him into the UT offense, giving him carries when resting Montario Hardesty who amassed over 1300 yards the same season.
It has been said afterwards that Kiffin promised Brown a Heisman campaign as part of his recruiting vows. This obviously never materialized as Kiffin left a depleted roster under NCAA investigation for the head coaching job at USC and Brown subsequently transferred to Kansas State after rushing for only 460 yards in his career at Tennessee.
Then there's LaMarcus Coker. He had all the talent in the world at the running back position and the ability to break one for a big gain every time he touched the ball. One of the fastest tailbacks to ever play at Tennessee, Coker had some electrifying runs during his career which was over before it really ever got started.
Coker was Freshman All-American after leading the Vols in rushing in 2006 with 696 yards on 108 carries. He was named the starter over Arian Foster in 2007 before getting the boot for yet another failed drug test. He most recently played in the Canadian Football League after a brief trial with the Cincinnati Bengals.
James Banks career at Tennessee began as a five star dual-threat quarterback recruit who saw action in 8 regular season games his freshman year, some at quarterback.
Tennessee saw his potential at wide receiver and he was undoubtedly talented there as well. He led the Volunteers in receiving in 2003 and made national highlight reels with his Hail Mary touchdown catch on the
final play of the first half at Florida.
But like Coker and Jackson, Banks could not stay away from the weed and transferred to Carson-Newman following a dismissal at UT. He was briefly on a practice squad in the NFL but never made a 53 man roster.
The warning signs were there for Rogers. He had only to look at the wasted career of his arch-nemesis the Honey Badger for warning of what was possible at UT. Now he will try his luck with Tennessee Tech and try and make the NFL in a manner which few UT cast-offs have. I hope he has better luck than they did. History is certainly not in his favor.
UPDATE: Since writing this article, Rogers has come out and admitted to "a couple of failed drug tests." This will certainly hurt any chances he had of being drafted. I think staying at Tech for a senior year and showing maturity is in his best interest. That's something he was unable to do here especially on the maturity standpoint. There was a very heated discussion between he and Dooley when informed he was getting suspended which made it apparent to both parties that a reconciliation was unlikely.