Arnett Swaps Sides, Provides Future for OL

Lack of O- line depth opens up an opportunity for DeOnte Arnett

A meeting Monday afternoon made it official – DeOnte Arnett, an offensive lineman.

After juggling the idea for some time, Arnett opted to switch from being a defensive lineman, citing the change for a fresh start at a new position.

“I saw a lot of opportunities with the lack of depth on the offensive line,” Arnett said. “I felt like offensive line could be a new start for me, and I could really progress at that.”

Arnett was sidelined for over a month over the summer, including the team’s first game against Navy, with a surgery that removed a cyst on his ankle, as well as the death of his great grandmother. “It felt like it was going totally backwards for me,” he said.

The injury to right tackle Pete DeSouza last week led Arnett to seek guidance from his Forestville Military High School football coach Charles Harley. The next conversation he had: offensive coordinator James Franklin.

“He has a chance now to be athletic offensive lineman, “Franklin said. “I think it’s going to helps us. I think it helps him. It’s a win-win situation.”

When the two approached Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen, receptive would be an understatement. His size, intelligence, work ethic and motivation provided all the right pieces to an ongoing puzzle at offensive line.

“I saw him hit people and knock people off the line of scrimmage, and that’s a great start,” Friedgen said.

Arnett has received reps at both left tackle and left guard, his first such experience since playing on the offensive line in high school. His first two days, however, proved to encouraging signs going forward.

“I was eager to how things were going to go,” Arnett admitted. “To my surprise it went great. At first, I just couldn’t picture myself playing offense ever in college, but it was a personal decision I had to make for myself. It was a progressive decision but I’m happy with it.”

The next step, according to Franklin, will be for Arnett to garner enough familiarity with the position to take reps with the varsity second team. Ideally, he’s one to two weeks away.

To his left will be Max Garcia, who both Friedgen and Franklin expect will combine to be a tandem on the left side of the offensive line for years to come. Garcia currently mans the tackle position, with Arnett filling in at guard.

“We’re trying to solidify our [offensive] line, not only this year but for the future,” Friedgen explained, adding he hopes to avoid being in a similar predicament then as he finds his team in now.

Fortunately, Arnett prides himself on being a quick learner. He plans on trying to learn as much as learn for the remainder of the season, and hopes to see action in the final two games. A simple-but-true mindset, he explained, already has him on the right path.

“The way I’ve thought about is on the defensive line you can’t be stopped, and on the offensive line you stop everything. That’s the way I look at – I just have to stop everything.”


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