Forestville's Arnett is Blowin' Up

When Forestville Military Academy coach Charles Harley tells you that one of his players is going to be a big-time recruit, you listen. That has proven to be accurate again in the case of junior defensive end DeOnte' Arnett, who we first revealed him as a budding prospect last September and who is now up to 16 scholarship offers.

Ohio State, UConn and West Virginia are the three latest schools to offer Arnett, joining Maryland, Syracuse, Penn State, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, N.C. State, Pitt, Boston College, Illinois, Cincinnati and Rutgers. Each week several different schools send recruiters to check out Arnett at the Prince George's County school, and they all come away with the same impression: Arnett is the real deal.

"One thing a lot of them are impressed with is that he's really how big he's listed at; a lot of these kids aren't as big," Harley said. "They've been watching him workout because you're allowed to watch him work out, and they all really like him. The coach from Ohio State said ‘That's one of the ones you have to have.'"

Arnett is a 6-foot-3-and-a-half, 248-pounder who turned 16 late in his junior year. He has exceptionally long arms, bench presses somewhere in the 340-pound range and is a lock to qualify academically. Like former teammate Kevin Dorsey, the highly regarded recruit who is now a freshman at Maryland, Arnett's off-the-field measurable stand out.

"The coaches all notice that he's the type of kid who looks you in the eye the entire time, ‘yes sir, no sir,' all of that. He's a lot like Dorsey," Harley said.

Arnett is preparing to sit down with Harley and narrow his list to a more manageable number. There is no question that Maryland will be on the list, which is great news considering they weren't a program of primary interest for Arnett as of last fall.

"When this all started he said to me, ‘Coach, I really want to get away for college.' But the Maryland guys have done a great job and he's softened tremendously," said Harley, who has had standouts Dorsey and Devonte Campbell become Terps the past few years and has always been a fan of the program.

"Fridge and I are cool," he said of head coach Ralph Friedgen. "he called me about a month ago and I don't know what he wanted but we talked for about a half-hour and I don't think he was trying to gain any kind of [recruiting] advantage."

That's not to say the Terps aren't very interested in getting Arnett, the No. 21 defensive end in the nation, locked up. He would be a major addition for a 2009 class that could use an injection of star power.

"The Maryland coaches would like to have him do it early," Harley said. "Maryland's got a lot of [pull] with him, he likes them a bunch."

Last year Arnett earned all-county honors by posting 16 sacks in six games before suffering a season-ending injury. He's gained 15 pounds since then and could easily end up in the 280-pound range, making him either an athletic defensive tackle – Pitt offered him as an interior lineman – or a menacing defensive end with size and agility.

The two schools aside from Maryland that seemingly have the most background with Arnett are N.C. State and Pittsburgh. N.C. State was the first school to seriously recruit him, while Pitt has assistant coach Bryan Bossard recruiting the area. Bossard was let go as Maryland wide receivers coach after last season and was the primary recruiter for both Dorsey and Campbell.

Still, there's no saying definitively where Arnett will wind up. He plans to graduate in the winter and enroll in college early, though, meaning he doesn't have a lot of time to take visits, and most of his visits will have to be unofficials taken at his own expense this summer.

Expect Arnett's recruiting picture to start becoming more clear in the next several weeks to one month.

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