While University of Tennessee football fans were awaking Friday to the horrific news of the brawl at Bar Knoxville, many Georgia fans found reasons to rejoice.
Tennessee's early-morning melee that left an undercover officer unconscious quickly moved the spotlight from Georgia, which had an embarrassing recent stretch with the awkward DUI arrest and ensuing resignation of athletic director Damon Evans. Among the Vols players charged was freshman receiver Da'Rick Rogers, who committed to the Bulldogs in June 2009 but switched late in the recruiting process.
Even after Rogers signed, he and Georgia sophomore safety Bacarri Rambo briefly sparred through Twitter posts.
Steve Patterson has been publisher of Georgia's website on Rivals.com (ugasports.com) since 1997 and said Friday was the busiest day on the "Dawgvent" message board since Rogers changed his pledge in early February. Patterson cites the Rogers switch as the all-time topper in terms of traffic to his site.
"I've seen a lot of things, but I don't know if I've ever seen them this thrilled," Patterson said. "It looks horrible for the University of Tennessee, but Dawg fans are loving it. I think the best post I've read was, 'Thank you, Tennessee, this wipes Damon Evans off the board.'
"Some people have gone overboard, though, saying stuff like they hope Rogers gets put in prison forever."
Rogers was Rivals.com's top Peach State prospect this past winter and No. 9 prospect nationally after amassing 84 receptions for 1,641 yards and 22 touchdowns for Hal Lamb's Calhoun Yellow Jackets. Lamb was disappointed to hear about Rogers being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, yet he was not entirely surprised.
"Da'Rick knows he needs to keep his nose clean," Lamb said. "Guys these days need to stay away from situations like that, and he clearly didn't. He was never in any real trouble at Calhoun, just some nitpicking stuff, and I've never known him to be a violent person."
Dean Legge, who operates the Georgia site on Scout.com, said a thread concerning the arrest of Rogers was by far the longest on "The Porch" message board.
Of course, Georgia wasn't enjoying the smoothest year even before the Evans incident. Football coach Mark Richt had to dismiss a backup quarterback (Zach Mettenberger), backup outside linebacker (Montez Robinson) and backup punter (Trent Dittmer) this spring, and a third-string cornerback was arrested earlier this week.
"If you're Georgia right now, you can't really kid too much," Legge said. "Still, if Da'Rick Rogers gets kicked off the team, there will be some Georgia fans going crazy."
Staff writer Lindsey Young contributed to this story.