"Wide Receiver U" is seemingly an outdated moniker for Tennessee football. It was more in vogue a quarter of a century ago when the Vols were blessed with talent, depth and future NFL draft picks at wide receiver.
But the nickname still resonates with sophomore wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers.
"I always paid attention to the SEC," he said. "So I know about the traditions."
He doesn't just know about UT football history. He has a chance to make it. So does his receiving buddy, Justin Hunter.
They will start as sophomore wide receivers in UT's season opener against Montana on Saturday evening. That's not business as usual for a program that is still sending receivers into the pros.
Even in UT's wide receiver heyday, it never had a sophomore tandem with the opportunity to start together for three seasons. Not only do the Vols have the receivers in place for a three-year run. They also have sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray throwing to them.
The passing combination is one of the most promising aspects of the program. It's not so much what they've done, as what you think they could do. And that's based more on looks than stats.
Hunter is 6-foot-4 and an All-American long jumper. Although he caught only 16 passes last season, seven were for touchdowns. His statistic of note is a 25.9-yard average per catch.
At 6-3, 215 pounds, Rogers has an NFL-like body. And his 7.3-yard average on 16 runs last season speaks to his play-making versatility.
The Vols have had productive tandems in the past, the most surprising of which would make a great trivia question: What receiving duo combined for the most catches in a single UT season?
The answer is Lucas Taylor, and either Austin Rogers or Josh Briscoe. Taylor caught 73 passes in 2007 when Rogers and Briscoe each had 56.
That tells you how much the Vols threw the ball in what was David Cutcliffe's final season as UT's offensive coordinator.
Joey Kent and Marcus Nash were almost as productive in 1996, quarterback Peyton Manning's junior season. Kent had 68 catches, and Nash had 53.
But the most talented twosome was Carl Pickens and Alvin Harper, who each played eight years in the NFL. They combined for 90 catches and produced one highlight after another in 1990.
Pickens had a 10-catch, 201-yard, three-touchdown game against Kentucky and a 13-catch, 163-yard game against then-No. 1 Notre Dame. He and Harper each had eight catches for more than 100 yards apiece against eventual national champion Colorado, and Harper had four catches for 118 yards against No. 3 Auburn.
You have to set aside the stats if you want to make a then-and-now comparison.
Like Hunter, Harper was a slender, 6-4 track athlete. He high-jumped at UT.
At 6-3, 200, Pickens was the same height, though lighter than Rogers. He was versatile as well as athletic, excelling on defense and special teams in addition to his starring role as a pass receiver.
Rogers is branching out as a sophomore. He's enthused about the idea of returning kickoffs this season and will remain a threat on reverses.
He has something else in common with Pickens. He exudes confidence. So it's hardly surprising that he has embraced the high expectations.
"I'm highly confident with that," he said. "With high expectations come good things."
Denarius Moore, his former teammate and fellow wide receiver, has surpassed expectations in Oakland's camp. A fifth-round draft pick, Moore has been a preseason standout with the Raiders.
"I tweeted Denarius Moore last night," Rogers said Monday. "He had a great game."
Rogers then segued from former receivers to the current group and put a new spin on and old nickname.
"It's Young Wide Receiver U now," he said. "We're trying to bring that name back to life."