Getting to know Tennessee class of 2007: No. 25, RB Dennis Rogan

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Not this guy.

No. 25 in the class of 2007 is Dennis Rogan.

No, not Dennis Robert David Rogan, the Ulster Unionist Party politician from Ireland.

This Dennis Rogan:

A lengthy courtship

When Tennessee began recruiting Dennis Rogan on May 1, 2006, they were very straightforward with him, telling him that they wanted him on campus but that he needed to address some academic issues before they made him an offer. The wait-and-see approach led first to a perception that Tennessee was not interested and, subsequently, to a swarm of suitors from other schools. Virginia Tech was the first to offer Rogan, and other offers from Miami-FL, Ole Miss, Middle Tennessee, and Arkansas soon followed. Rogan was apparently also recruited by Ohio State, but the Buckeyes never made an offer. At different times during the recruiting season, Rogan had one or another of these other schools listed as his favorite, but that was simply because Tennessee had not yet extended its offer because coaches were still uncertain about his eligibility.

On November 28, Rogan learned that he had obtained a passing ACT score, and Tennessee made him an offer on October 3. Rogan then played hard to get – for 24 hours. "It was a big moment," Rogan said. "It took me one night to decide because I wanted to go home and talk about it with my mom and my older brother, but then we called over there today at about two o' clock, and I told them that I was ready to commit." Rogan was the sixth in-state commitment, and the thirteenth commitment overall, of the 2007 class.

Woo! Numbers! And Exclamation Points! And Question Marks?

When Rogan scored on a 75-yard touchdown run as a freshman playing his first varsity game, it foreshadowed a brilliant high school career. His sophomore year, he rushed 68 times for 382 yards and seven touchdowns, but he really began to make a name for himself his junior year when he rushed for 2,112 yards and 31 (not a typo!) touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and 31 tackles on defense. Little wonder why he was a finalist for the Class 3A Mr. Football.

As a senior, Rogan ran for 2,876 yards (!) and 44 (!!) touchdowns. He concluded the season and his high school career with back-to-back 200-yard games. Wait, that doesn’t quite do it justice, so let me be more specific: he gained 255 yards on the ground and had 406 (!!!) all-purpose yards versus Pearl-Cohn in the state semifinals (!!!!) and his 208 yards helped his team win the state championship over David Lipscomb. And he did it all with eight defensive players in the box.

When his high school career was in the books, Rogan had racked up 5,261 rushing yards and 81 touchdowns. He had scored a total of 572 points, 296 of which had come during his senior season alone.

Honors? Of course there were honors:

  • Consecutive state titles in 2003 and 2004 and another in 2006
  • Two-time finalist for the Class 3A Mr. Football award
  • 19 consecutive 100-yard rushing games
  • PrepXtra Offensive Player of the Year
  • All-Region
  • All-State
  • Winner of the BlueCross Bowl’s Offensive MPV award
  • PrepStar All-American
  • 2006 first team TSWA All-State
  • 2006 Tennessee Football Coaches Association first-team All-State honoree
  • 2006 Tennessean Dream Team

So help me understand his ratings from the recruiting services. Rivals has Rogan as the No. 9 all-purpose back in the nation, but only gives him three stars (?). Scout also limits him to three stars and has him as the state’s No. 15 prospect overall and the nation’s No. 76 (??) running back. ESPN says he’s the nation’s No. 46 cornerback (???).

Maybe it’s his size (5’10", 182). Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah. Travis Stephens wasn’t big enough, either. Whatever. And don’t tell former UT defensive end Todd Kelly that Rogan’s too small, because he’ll just start talking about how Rogan reminds him of Charlie Garner.

No, look past all of the negative language about his size and you start seeing some of those good words like Shifty. Speed. Vision. Elusive.

And Versatile. Rogan not only played running back for Fulton, he also played linebacker, safety, corner, defensive end (!), and "all over" on offense.

And, finally, Tough, according to Fulton head coach Buck Coatney:

The only time Dennis Rogan was in trouble with me was this preseason. He missed our first few scrimmages because he had a twisted ankle. He was supposed to be in the training room after practice one night, and I couldn't find him.

I was kind of upset with him. When I found him, he was out in the dark, running stadiums. Supposed to be the training room getting treatment, [and] he's out running stadiums. That's the kind of kid he is.

So, forget about the size thing, okay?

Or better yet, remember it. And then remember Travis Stephens in 2001 against the Gators in the Swamp when it was all on the line. (If you have never read that article, go read it. Now. Then come back.)

Brings a smile to your face, no?

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