High School Sports

Chase Rogers is all in on Tennessee despite new interest from Top 5 program

Chase Rogers’ ears may still be ringing.

The St. Stanislaus tight end and Tennessee commit visited Knoxville last weekend for the first time during the Rockachaws’ bye week and came away thoroughly impressed.

“Oh my gosh,” Rogers said Tuesday. “It was awesome.”

The Volunteers hadn’t beaten Florida since 2004 — and trailing 21-3 at halftime, it looked like the streak would continue.

But Tennessee mounted an impressive rally to knock off the Gators 38-28. What really impressed Rogers, who was in one of the end zones with a number of other UT commits, was the 102,455 fans who packed Neyland Stadium.

“By the end of the third quarter, I think we all had headaches,” Rogers laughed. “It was the loudest, most hyped game I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ve never been to another college game anywhere like like.”

The experience only reaffirmed Rogers’ commitment to Tennessee.

“Just to be in that stadium with the fans roaring is awesome,” he said. “I was just picturing myself out there playing, making those plays.

“It’s an awesome feeling.”

Michigan showing interest

Rogers’ recruitment has slowed quite a bit since he committed to UT on March 7. He said No. 4 Michigan reached out to him last week, but the Wolverines are the only new school to really pop up recently.

“I think it’s because I’m such a hard commit, they’re staying away,” he said.

Rogers said when he committed he planned to take all five of his official visits and he maintains that stance despite being a firm Volunteer pledge.

He plans to revisit Knoxville on Oct. 15 for the Alabama game and then take his official visit after his high school season is over. Rogers, who also holds offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tulane, Cal, and others, hasn’t decided who else he’ll visit.

New position

In addition to playing tight end, Rogers has started to play defensive end on third downs for the first time since the 2015 opener against Gulfport.

“It’s fun. It’s something we need to do now to get the work in so we’ll be ready when we need it (in the playoffs),” he said. “Right now I’m just learning the calls. Conditioning-wise, it’s not really different.”

Rogers, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 248 pounds, adds size up front for SSC on passing downs. He made his defensive debut two weeks ago against D’Iberville and could see spot duty throughout the Region 8-4A schedule starting on Friday at Vancleave.

Chasing history

Like his quarterback, Myles Brennan, Rogers is also in pursuit of history this season.

Rogers has 180 receptions for 3,130 yards and 34 touchdowns in his high school career and is within striking distance of the Mississippi marks in all three categories.

Not surprisingly, Rogers is trailing former Rockachaws for all three records. Chase Rhodes holds the career reception mark at 225 and Krisjon Wilkerson finished with 3,634 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Through five games this season, Rogers has 25 receptions for 443 yards and three touchdowns.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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