Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley gave DeAnthony Arnett what he wanted, and the talented freshman wide receiver wasted little time making up his mind.
Arnett, just one day after receiving a release from his scholarship to attend any school in the state of Michigan, will transfer to Michigan State, Arnett's brother, Ralph, confirmed to the News Sentinel late Wednesday night. The paperwork for his release was completed Tuesday, and Arnett expects to be in classes at his new school next week, his brother said.
Arnett, who said he wanted to attend a school closer to his Saginaw, Mich., home because of his ill father, will apply for an NCAA hardship waiver in hopes of being eligible to play for the Spartans in 2012.
Arnett's quick decision brings finality to an ordeal that was briefly contentious.
Initially, Dooley, citing school policy, would only grant Arnett a release to schools that did not recruit or compete against the Vols, therby eliminating schools such as Michigan State or Michigan. On Tuesday, in his first meeting with reporters since the Vols' season-ending loss to Kentucky on Nov. 26, Dooley said the restriction was merely a parameter before he was able to further investigate the issue.
"There was a lot of confusion on what had happened there and that's why I just wanted to clear that up," Dooley said. "I'm really supportive of DeAnthony. He has a great future as a person and as a player. He's been very mature through this thing during a tough time and an emotional time. Once we started the one-on-one dialogue, it's been very comforting for both of us. I'm wishing him well there when that time comes."
Considered one of the Vols' top-rated signees for the class of 2011, Arnett started once and saw playing time in all 12 games this past season. His 24 receptions tied for the second-most by a freshman in program history. He finished with 242 receiving yards, a total that ranked fifth on the team, and two touchdowns.
Michigan State's campus in East Lansing, Mich., is less than 70 miles from Arnett's hometown. The Spartans were heavily in the mix for Arnett's signature in 2011 but were eliminated when he committed to UT three months before National Signing Day.
"I will have to move forward with my life at a new university in order to complete my duties to the man up above. My family does and will always come first," Arnett wrote in an e-mail to certain media members Tuesday. "If I did not have issues with my family, you could guarantee that I would continue to be a Vol.''