Over the last two months, Tennessee has gained two commitments in one 24-hour period four times. That’s unusual for the middle of January leading up to national signing day the first week of February.
The latest twosome to accept Tennessee’s scholarship offers on the same day answer three important needs for the Vols, because you simply can’t have too much speed, too many defensive tackles or enough top talent from your own home state.
Zach Rogers, 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, answers two of those needs as a wide receiver with 4.4 speed who plays at Nashville David Lipscomb Campus School and is rated one of the state’s top five prospects. He is the brother of starting Vol wideout Austin Rogers and his commitment came as no surprise.
However there was plenty of competition especially from Auburn which was his second choice. Rogers also received offers from Vanderbilt, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Texas Tech, Duke, Colorado, North Carolina and Oklahoma State.
A versatile athlete, Rogers caught 29 passes for 688 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. He added another 465 yards and five touchdowns in 44 carries. He played safety on defense, posting 27 tackles and seven interceptions as the Mustangs reached the state title game.
Zach Rogers is rated three stars by Scout.com and ranked No. 53 among the nation’s wide receivers. When Austn Rogers signed with Tennessee in 2005 he was ranked the nations No. 91 wide receiver prospect and is slated to start his third season this fall.
Joining Rogers as Tennessee’s No. 14 and No. 15 commitments in the Class of 2009 is Edwin Herbert, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from City College of San Francisco. The JUCO lineman is reported to run a 4.82 time in the 40 and is exceptionally strong. He performed 35 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press at CCSF last spring. As a sophomore he registered 48 stops with six sacks.
The Vols held off Nebraska, Wisconsin, Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and San Diego State. Herbert became aware of Tennessee through teammate Gerald Williams who started at middle linebacker for City College. He follows in the football footsteps of former City Coilege players to do well on The Hill — Gibril Wilson and Albert Toeaina.
Herbert originally signed with Army out of Armijo High School in Fairfield, Calif., but later decided to take an alternate route to D-I football opportunity. He brings a physical presence and aggressive play that could be put to immediate use when he arrives at UT in January.
Regarded as a better run stopper than pass rusher at this point, Herbert can improve on the later and make an impact sooner.
The Vols are also recruiting Akiem Hicks, 6-6. 295, a defensive end/tackle from Sacramento, Calif., who is rated a four-star prospect. Hicks has the Vols among his finalists along with Arizona, Oregon, Kansas State, Purdue, South Florida and Washington State.
Team Hubert with Hicks on the inside and the Vols might have their best pair of defensive tackles since Henderson and Haynesworth, and as Coach Fulmer would say: you’d also have one heck of a four front.