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Thursday, January 31, 2013
The One Who Got Away: Da'Rick Rogers

By David Ching

ATHENS, Ga. -- To this point, no decommitment has resonated more loudly during Mark Richt’s Georgia tenure than when Da’Rick Rogers flipped from the Bulldogs to Tennessee just before national signing day in 2010.

Da'Rick Rogers
Da'Rick Rogers flipped from UGA to Tennessee in 2010, where he starred in 2011 before disciplinary issues forced him to transfer.
The heavily recruited wide receiver from Calhoun (Ga.) High School was one of the top players in that year’s ESPN 150, ranking as the No. 30 overall prospect -- just one spot behind Georgia’s highest-rated signee that year, Alec Ogletree. Other recruiting services rated Rogers as a five-star player and as a top-15 recruit.

But when he decommitted from Georgia at the 11th hour, it was a major blow to the star power in the Bulldogs’ recruiting class, which dropped to 12th in ESPN’s team rankings.

Georgia fans like to point out that Rogers encountered a number of disciplinary issues at Tennessee before leaving the program last offseason after Vols coach Derek Dooley suspended him. But Rogers was also arguably the SEC’s top receiver in 2011, finishing the season with 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns on 67 catches, and he could have become a major star in Georgia’s passing game.

Rogers spent last season at Tennessee Tech, where he recorded 61 catches for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns -- including an 18-catch, 303-yard game against Southeast Missouri State -- before declaring for the NFL draft. ESPN lists him as the No. 13 receiver available.

One player who could steal Rogers’ crown as the top decommitment someday might just be Derrick Henry, who flipped from Georgia to Alabama several months ago. Henry obviously hasn’t played a college game yet, so it remains to be seen exactly how painful his loss will become. But the five-star prospect -- ESPN’s No. 1 athlete and No. 9 overall player in this class -- seems bound for greatness at this point.

Henry initially committed to Georgia on the same mid-July day in 2011 that offensive lineman John Theus, quarterback Brice Ramsey, athlete Tramel Terry and running back Stanley Williams all pledged their loyalty to the Bulldogs.

A common line of thinking at the time was that it was one of the greatest individual days in the history of Georgia football recruiting -- and it will remain that way if rising sophomore Theus and early enrollees Ramsey and Terry fulfill their massive potential. But someday it might seem a bit more bittersweet should Henry become the superstar he’s capable of becoming.