Da'Rick Rogers path to the NFL is taking a detour to Cookeville, where the talented but mercurial wide receiver hopes to revive his career after a troubled tenure at Tennessee.
Tennessee Tech confirmed Rogers' transfer Monday and said he could suit up and play when the Golden Eagles open their season against Hampton Thursday night, only eight days after the junior was suspended indefinitely from Tennessee.
Tennessee Tech is in the Championship Subdivision, meaning transfers are eligible to play immediately.
Rogers donned a purple and gold jersey and flashed a wide smile in a photo the school sent out on Twitter. Rogers said he wanted a "new beginning" at the Ohio Valley Conference school.
"I'm excited to be here and be with the team and have brand new camaraderie with these guys," Rogers said in a release provided by Tech. "It'll be fun to watch us play.
"Everybody has welcomed me with open arms and that's been a big thing. It seems to be like a family."
Rogers has two former teammates from his Calhoun, Ga., high school at Tech, including quarterback Tre Lamb.
Lamb's father, Hal, was Rogers' high school coach and vouched for Rog
ers' character to Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown.
"It's a unique situation for me, but we know he's a good kid," Brown said in the release. "He knows a couple of the players on our team, and we know his high school coach, and we're going on their recommendations.
"After meeting with Da'Rick and his family, I can see what everybody is saying about him. We've met with Da'Rick and he understands our expectations."
Rogers has had a tumultuous career since signing with the Vols as a five-star prospect in 2010.
He was arrested after a fight at a Knoxville bar in 2010, received a two-week ban from offseason activities this year and then missed some of spring practice amid rumors that he planned to transfer.
But he had a solid camp, according to coaches, and was expected to be one of Tennessee's biggest offensive weapons in 2012.
Rogers was the SEC's leading receiver in 2011 and a consensus preseason All-SEC selection this year.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.