Tech football’s season opener two Thursdays ago was abuzz, as one would expect.
Students, faculty, football fans and community members alike piled into Tucker Stadium on a warm night excited to watch football. However, every one of the 10,130 in attendance were energized for more than just the opening of a campaign for the reigning Ohio Valley Confernce champs.
Heard of Da’Rick Rogers?
The former University of Tennessee wideout and All-SEC member Rogers transferred to Tech after he was suspended indefinitely from UT. The reason for the suspension was not released until Rogers himself admitted to failing a drug test while enrolled at UT.
“There were a couple of drug tests,” Rogers said at a Tech press conference. “And it was about me being a young, immature guy, and those are things that I’ve got to work on. I plan to do that.
“When it came to review my next school, and I met coach Brown, I most definitely felt like he was a guy that could help me with all my things and the situation that I had going on.”
Brown admitted the situation was a new one for him but said that he saw Rogers as nothing but “first-class.” Brown added that he has provided stipulations for Rogers’ behavior in order to keep him accountable.
“Would I say Da’Rick has got things that he’ll have to do more than just the regular players on the team? Yes,” said Brown. “But I won’t go into those. That’s between he and I. That’s going to do nothing but help him. If this was my son that had gotten into something that he regretted, then I would love him and be hard on him at the same time and say, ‘Let’s get through this together and get it corrected.'”
Rogers said he knew he needed to change his attitude and felt that Tech was the right place to get on track.
“There were many different programs that I probably could have gone to,” Rogers said. “When I met Coach Brown, it was a done deal. I just fell in love with Tennessee Tech. I most definitely felt like he was a guy that could help me with all my things and the situation that I had going on. All that’s behind me now, and I can say those problems won’t happen here at all.”
Rogers played at the same high school as Tech players Tre Lamb and Adam Urbano, who currently start at quarterback and running back, respectively. Lamb’s father coached Rogers at the Calhoun, Ga., school. Although Tech did not talk to current UT coach Derek Dooley about the suspension, Brown said the fact that so many people spoke well on Rogers’ behalf made the decision easier.
“I think we would’ve (talked to Dooley) if I had no background with Da’Rick whatsoever,” Brown said. “But I had enough folks that were talking to me about him and how they felt about him that I just didn’t think that I needed to do that.”
Despite his last couple of weeks, Rogers is excited about his chance to play for the Golden Eagles. And he knows the impact he can leave.
“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.”