July 13, 2009

Vols lose another player to injury

Tennessee has lost its second offensive skill position player to a season-ending injury, multiple sources have told VolQuest.com, less than a month before the opening of fall camp.

Fifth-year senior wideout Austin Rogers likely tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during voluntary workouts late last week and will miss the season. True freshman tailback Toney Williams, an early enrollee who sparkled during the Vols' spring camp, already has had surgery to repair the torn ACL he suffered during workouts last month.

The returning team leader in career receptions with 76 for 891 yards and four touchdowns, the 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound Nashville native was expected to be a significant contributor for a Tennessee offense that lost senior wideouts Lucas Taylor and Josh Briscoe from the 2008 squad. Rogers, whose younger brother Zach is a fleet-footed freshman wideout, gathered in a 16-yard touchdown reception during the Vols' Orange & White game on April 18.

Having appeared in 38 career games and started half of them, Rogers received a medical redshirt during the 2006 season after appearing in just three games, starting one of them. A David Lipscomb product and former Gatorade state player of the year also is a team leader and respected presence in the locker room.

The injuries are two blows for a UT offense that struggled mightily to score points last season, when the Vols finished 5-7 and replaced Phillip Fulmer with Lane Kiffin. Tennessee opens the Kiffin Era when it hosts Western Kentucky Sept. 5 at Neyland Stadium and then faces consecutive showdowns against UCLA (4 p.m., ESPN) and at Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS) the next two weeks.

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