Tennessee wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett, who compiled the second-most receptions by a freshman in program history this past season, has asked for a release from his scholarship.
"Due to personal family reasons, I've decided to leave Tennessee," Arnett told SpartanTailgate, part of 247Sports, on Wednesday night. "I appreciate everything the Vols coaches have done for me but in the long run the Tennessee program isn't the right fit for me or my family."
Arnett’s father has battled health issues and his condition has not improved since Arnett enrolled at UT, a source told the New Sentinel.
Arnett told the website he has applied for a personal hardship waiver that would allow him to play next season.
SpartanTailgate reported that Arnett informed Tennessee coach Derek Dooley he would transfer and added that he will be “exploring his options.” Those options include Michigan State, Michigan and Notre Dame.
UT officials could not be reached for comment.
A highly touted slot receiver from Saginaw, Mich., Arnett was third on the Vols with 24 receptions, fourth with 242 yards and was one of three players to catch two touchdowns. Arnett’s breakout performance came three weeks into the season against Florida, when he led the Vols with eight receptions for 59 yards. Two weeks later, he caught two touchdown passes in UT’s rout of Buffalo.
Arnett saw action in all 12 games and picked up his first career start in November at Arkansas.
His departure adds even more ambiguity to what UT has at wide receiver in 2012. Star wideout Justin Hunter continues to rehabilitate from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The Vols’ leading receiver in 2011, Da’Rick Rogers, had his status with the program come into question earlier this month, though Dooley strongly denied multiple reports that Rogers had been suspended.
UT has four wide receivers — Drae Bowles (Jackson), Jason Croom (Norcross, Ga.), Alton Howard (Orlando, Fla.) and Keithon Redding (Decatur, Ga.) — committed for the class of 2012 and has relentlessly pursued top-rated junior-college prospect Cordarrelle Patterson (Hutchinson, Kan.).
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble