COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Former Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers calls his move to Tennessee Tech a fresh start.
Rogers did confirm to Local 8 Sports reporter Daryl Hobby that "a couple failed drug tests" were what got him suspended indefinitely last week.
The former Vol also said that he has "no ill will towards the coaches at UT" and also added that he plans to watch the Vols season opener in Atlanta on TV this friday.
“I see it as a new beginning," Rogers said in a Tennessee Tech release issued early Monday evening.
"All the coaches and players have been welcoming. The athletic director has been nice. Everybody has welcomed me with open arms and that’s been a big thing. It seems to be like a family. I already knew a few players on the team like Tre Lamb, Adam Urbano and Carter Crutchfield. It’s a good place to be,” Rogers said.
Last Thursday, Vols head coach Derek Dooley announced that Rogers had been suspended indefinitely. Dooley also said that Rogers' return to the team was unlikely.
Now enrolled at Tennessee Tech, Golden Eagles head coach Watson Brown called the situation "unique."
“We’re excited to have him and look forward to working with him,” Brown said.
"We know he’s a good kid. He knows a couple of the players on our team, and we know his high school coach, and we’re going on their recommendations," Brown said.
“After meeting with Da’Rick and his family, I can see what everybody is saying about him,” Brown added. “We’ve met with Da’Rick and he understands our expectations.”
Rogers was a teammate at Calhoun High School of Golden Eagle senior quarterback Tre Lamb and senior running back Adam Urbano, and was coached by Hal Lamb.
Rogers transfers to Tech from Tennessee, where he played two seasons and was a first-team all-SEC receiver in 2011. He led the SEC in receiving with 67 catches for 1,040 yards, and was second in the league with nine touchdowns.
His transfer has provided plenty of buzz throughout the region.
“I’m excited to be in purple and gold,” Rogers said. “Hopefully everybody will be able to come out dressed in purple and gold and watch our games. It’ll be exciting. I’m excited to be here and be with the team and have brand new camaraderie with these guys. It’ll be fun to watch us play.”
Rogers will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, and could be available to play as quickly as the opening game Thursday night in Tucker Stadium against Hampton University. Learning Tech’s system and his role on the team will be a quick study if he’s cleared to hit the field against the Pirates.
“I guess it just puts a test on your football ability and your will as a man,” Rogers said. “Learning the play book and knowing you have a game to play in a couple of days when you just got here and you have to be ready to play and meet the expectations that the coaches have for you.
At Calhoun, Rogers ranked as a five-star prospect by Scout.com as a high school senior and was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's All-Classifications Player of the Year and Super 11 selection. He was chosen the Class AA Offensive Player of the Year by the Georgia Sports Writers, and played in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game where he was named the top athlete in the game by Rivals.com.
Following his senior season, he was named to the 2010 Parade All-America Team. He helped Calhoun to 14-1 finish in 2009 and a berth in Class AA state championship game and set a Georgia state record with 1,641 receiving yards. As a junior in 2008, tallied 66 receptions for 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. In five career playoff games, he compiled 707 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
As a freshman with the Vols, he played in 13 games in 2010, making 11 catches for 167yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 117 yards and averaged 24.8 yards in 12 kickoff returns.
Last season, his role centered on his pass-catching skills and he responded with league-leading numbers. He started in 12 games and became just the sixth UT player to achieve a 1,000-yard season. He posted six 100-plus receiving games, and twice notched a career-high 10 catches, doing so in games against Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.