Joseph Quinzio, 20, of Palm Desert says his only tie to the alleged incident is a single text message, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported Monday.
Quinzio was a teammate of one suspect, Brandon Vandenburg, 20, when they attended Xavier College Prep High School in Palm Desert.
In a hearing Monday, Quinzio attorney Brett Greenfield said his client had been pulled into the "outskirts" of the case because of that text message.
Tennessee authorities issued an arrest warrant for Quinzio last week and he surrendered to authorities Friday.
Outside the courtroom, Greenfield argued Quinzio's extradition was no longer necessary because investigators now had new information.
"It is my belief that law enforcement now have the facts and that the facts [in the warrant] are now stale," the attorney said.
The ex-Vanderbilt players are accused of raping an unconscious woman in a campus dormitory room.
In addition to Vandenburg, the other players arrested are Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Miss., Cory Batey, 19, of Nashville and Brandon Banks, 19, of Brandywine, Md.
Quinzio is due in court Wednesday for a bail hearing.