While teams have been focusing on wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, senior wide receiver Zach Rogers has been able to break through and become a key piece in the Volunteer offense during the 2012 season.
After the dismissal of former Vol wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, Zach knew he had to step up in his absence.
"It was an unfortunate situation with Da'Rick," said Rogers. "He's a great player, and we miss him. I definitely had to step up and be a leader."
Rogers has become a major leader on the Vols' offense. His knowledge and experience brings maturity to the Volunteer wide receiving corps.
"He's doing what you hope a leader would do," said head coach Derek Dooley. "With his kind of speed and intangibles, he's just a great presence in the receiver room from a maturity standpoint. He knows all of the positions, so he can spare any guy out there."
"He's done a good job helping guys like Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson," said redshirt senior defensive back Prentiss Waggner. "I could see Zach as being a coach."
Junior wide receivers Hunter and Patterson are key pieces to the production Rogers has had this season.
"His speed allows him to generate some big plays when they are focused on the other two guys," said Dooley.
"People focus more on me and Justin. Now, they have to focus on him," said Patterson.
"He goes out there and makes the deep passes," said Hunter. "Most people think I'm gonna go out and get the big passes, but it's been basically him all year."
Now that Rogers is in his senior season, he is making a greater impact than he has in any other year. Through six games, Rogers already has 17 receptions for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. These are career highs for a single season for Rogers.
"He always causes issues in practice," said Waggner. "He's a great route runner. I think he is the best route runner on the team. He adjusts to the blitz really well, and he has great hands."
Rogers produces some big plays on the field. He also makes big things happen in the kitchen.
"He invited me over to his house the other day," said Hunter. "He made gumbo for me. He cooks really [well]. And his roommates John Probst and Jacob Carter cook really (well), too."
"Me and my roommates invite (Hunter) over every now and then. Jambalaya is his meal choice," said Rogers.
Rogers is having the best season of his Volunteer career this year, and he is the leader of one of the best receiving corps in the country.
"I think I've proven myself in this offense," said Rogers, "I'm just trying to be an asset to this team."