Recruiting Analyst: Vols Lead for 5-Star Lineman

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    (Photo via Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press)

    Last weekend, Tennessee held their annual spring game, the Orange & White Game. While it was a chance for fans to get a glimpse of some of this year’s players for the Vols, it also served as a huge recruiting weekend for the future of the program.

    One of the many visitors who were in attendance for the spring game was five-star lineman Justin Rogers. The Oak Park, Michigan lineman used his first official visit of his recruitment to take the trip to Knoxville, and it marked the second time in the last six months he’d been on campus.

    Now, coming off that visit, one national analyst believes Tennessee is in the lead for the five-star.

    Mike Farrell, the National Recruiting Director for Rivals.com, said in an article that he believes the Vols are now the leader for the elite lineman.

    “I think Tennessee leads for him,” Farrell said. “It’s very telling that he decided to go down there for this visit. He’s shown a lot of interest in the coaching staff and they’re recruiting the heck out of him. At first, I thought he was just going to be a Michigan guy and stay home. The more he’s looked around, the more it looks like he’s going to leave the conference.”

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    Rogers is listed as the No. 23 overall prospect and No. 1 offensive guard in the 2020 cycle according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He holds offers from most of the top programs in college football, including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, and many others.

    Though he’s listed as the top offensive guard in the 2020 cycle, many believe that Rogers could be an elite defensive lineman in college, and it appears that Tennessee is selling the athletic big man on that prospect. In fact, the 6-foot-4, 314-pound Rogers played some inside linebacker for Oak Park this past season, too.

    Rogers’ position may not be figured out just yet, but he clearly has a high ceiling on either side of the ball.

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    Josh Helmholdt, a midwest area analyst for Rivals, wasn’t so quick to name the Vols’ the leader for Rogers, though.

    “Tennessee is the team with the most buzz for Rogers right now, but a year ago at this time Ohio State had that same kind of momentum in this recruitment, and at the start of last season it seemed Georgia had even more,” Helmholdt stated. “I’ve known Rogers since he was in middle school and I have watched his recruitment develop over the last few years. There’s still a lot of recruiting to be done, and I’d say it’s too early to make a strong prediction on where this one is headed.”

    Though the Vols have a lot of momentum right now, it’s clear that Rogers’ recruitment won’t be over anytime soon. Even if he commits to a school soon, tons of schools will continue to come knocking.

    Looking at his film, Rogers has impressive strength and a solid base. He pancakes defenders time and time again on offense, and he does a decent job of not getting his hands too high and using good technique. He still needs to work on consistency there, as he relies on his strength more than his fundamentals at times. But he has an extremely good foundation to build off of on that side of the ball. On defense, Rogers is much quicker than you’d expect him to be, and he moves exceptionally well off the line. He has great burst off the point of attack.

    Overall, it’s easy to see that Rogers is getting by a bit with his superior strength and athleticism in high school, but he has just about all the tools both offensive line coaches and defensive line coaches like prospects to have.

    Tennessee signed two five-star prospects during the 2019 cycle, bringing in five-star offensive tackle Wanya Morris and five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The Vols don’t currently have a five-star committed to them in the 2020 class, but three of UT’s six commits in the 2020 cycle so far are rated as four-stars according to 247Sports.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.