KNOXVILLE – Former UT players Ben Bartholomew and Zach Rogers have played their entire careers in the state of Tennessee.
Could that trend continue in the pros?
Rogers and Bartholomew, both considered late-round NFL draft possibilities, both visited with the Tennessee Titans on Monday. NFL teams are allowed to host up to 30 draft-eligible prospects, but can also bring in an unlimited number of local prospects for pre-draft visits.
Both are Nashville natives, qualifying them for local status for the Titans.
“We had crazy times, a lot of different coaches, and not necessarily the best seasons, but I’ve had an incredible experience,” Bartholomew, a fullback/tight end, told the Titan’s official website on Monday of his time at UT. “Hopefully I can keep playing in the state, but who knows where I’ll be.”
Added Rogers, a wide receiver who had 32 receptions for 491 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012: “It’s been an adventure. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m definitely blessed to have this opportunity in front of me and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
The Titans haven’t drafted a UT player since selecting the late Jesse Mahelona in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. They’ve drafted four total since the franchise moved from Houston to Tennessee in 1997.
Daniel Lewis covers University of Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter@DanielNooga