published Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Vols' Rogers reports finger surgery 'went well'

KNOXVILLE -- The procedure hardly had any lasting effects.

One glance on Da'Rick Rogers' Twitter account proved that.

Tennessee's star receiver underwent surgery Friday morning to repair a minor injury to his right index finger, UT associate athletic director for communication Jimmy Stanton confirmed in the afternoon. Rogers is expected to be fully cleared for the start of spring practice.

Shortly after his surgery, the former Calhoun (Ga.) High School standout was active on Twitter. He wrote on his account that his injury was torn ligaments. Rogers did have tape on his right index and middle fingers at points throughout the season.

"Thank you for all the good wishes," Rogers wrote shortly before posting a photo of him with three UT Medical Center nurses. "Surgery went well! A speedy recovery is [in] store!"

Rogers earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league's coaches and the Associated Press following a standout sophomore season. With fellow receiver Justin Hunter sidelined in September with a season-ending knee injury, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Rogers hauled in 67 passes for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns despite the Volunteers rolling through a trio of quarterbacks. Starter Tyler Bray missed five games with a broken thumb.

Some reports and speculation early in the offseason said Rogers was facing a suspension, but UT coach Derek Dooley was adamant in defending Rogers' status earlier this week.

"Da'Rick is on our team, and he's good," Dooley said.

Now with his small injury fixed, Rogers and the Vols are hoping he's better for his junior season.

Vols lose Crawley

Tennessee's 2012 recruiting class took its third hit of the week Friday.

This decommitment might be the most significant.

Four-star cornerback Kenneth Crawley announced his decision to part ways with the Vols on his Twitter page on Friday morning. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound prospect from H.D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C., pledged to UT in August, roughly a month after attending a July camp in Knoxville.

"I just want to thank the University of Tennessee and the fans for all their support," Crawley wrote. "Great and wonderful place ... but my family and I just did what was best for me and [chose] to move on. No longer a Vol but have so much love for the program. I had to make a decision with the family and it [was] best for me to explore my options and stay wide open in the recruitment process.

"The coaches and staff [are] great great. I wouldn't put nothing against one of the best schools in the SEC even though they had a bad season. One of the best schools academics wise in the SEC."

Given the Vols' struggle at corner this season and the staff's desire for bigger players at the position, Crawley was a key addition. Peter Sirmon, the UT linebackers coach who left with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox for Washington earlier this week, was the primary recruiter for Crawley, who held scholarship offers from Georgia, Michigan, Clemson, Michigan State and Oklahoma State, among others.

There were some academic concerns with Crawley, and he has yet to even take some standardized tests, according to some reports.

Earlier this week, Dooley cited the SEC's new 25-player hard cap for signing classes as a challenge for coaches as they complete their recruiting classes. With the room for error eliminated, schools must weigh the risk of taking recruits who may not qualify academically.

"In the past," Dooley said, "when you get your midterm grades here, which is a great indicator of whether a recruit can qualify or not, it was OK if he was a big risk because you could sign him, and if he didn't qualify you could help. You could help him go to a junior college; you could help him go maybe to another school to get him back to reach his dreams. You can't do that anymore.

"So when there's a high academic risk at the midterm, the communication has got to be that the limits that have been placed on us prevent us from continuing to help. That's unfortunate, and it's one of the reasons that, of course, our coaches were so opposed to [the new rule]."

Crawley's departure leaves UT's commitments at 18 players.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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