Friday, December 30, 2011

So what's the deal with DeAnthony Arnett?

For those of you who don't follow recruiting that heavily, DeAnthony Arnett was a highly-recruited wide receiver out of Saginaw who enjoyed all the attention he was getting last year.

He had some fun, posting fake commitment videos on Twitter before eventually choosing Tennessee over MSU, Michigan and other schools.

Arnett had 24 catches for 242 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman for the Volunteers this past season.  But now Arnett is seeking a transfer to a school back home because of his ailing father, telling ESPN, "I want to play football but I NEED to be here for my Dad and with my family."

Sounds simple enough. But Tennessee isn't making it easy. 

Common sense would say that Arnett would want to come to MSU. It's near Saginaw, he nearly picked the Spartans the first time around, and he likely would move into a starting role because of all the graduating wide receivers MSU loses. (He could be granted a medical hardship because of his father and be allowed to play right away, but there could be some other eligibility issues with his letter of intent you can read about here.)

But the Volunteers will only let Arnett transfer to Mid-American Conference schools, unless he wants to pay his own way to East Lansing or Ann Arbor.

According to, this was Tennessee's reasoning:

"We're not denying him a release to be near his family, get a good education and play Division I football at the same time, but we do have a policy of not releasing players to schools we either play or recruit against. Where he's from, there are several good D-I schools nearby that would be good options to play football, get a good education and keep him near his family." 

MSU and U-M don't play Tennessee in the foreseeable future, aside from possibly in a bowl. Tennessee says they recruit against the Big Ten schools, but I guarantee this negative publicity will hurt recruiting more than letting Arnett go. 

As CBS Sports points out in its story, this is hardly the first time Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has hindered a player's ability to leave. Dooley needs to win now, and losing a solid, young wide receiver won't help him get off the hot seat. 

It will be interesting to see if Tennessee budges on this. They're getting a lot of heat. But one thing is for sure: The Spartans are watching this situation very closely.

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