Coaching carousel whirls around Arnett

If anyone has kept tabs on the coaching carousel that's been whirling since December, it's DeAnthony Arnett. After all, his future depends on it. Arnett has fielded offers from Cincinnati, Tennessee and Notre Dame, and all three of those teams have...well, you know. Purple Reign talked to Arnett about his dizzying off-season and one school, Northwestern, that hasn't had any coaching drama.

There was nothing unusual about DeAnthony Arnett's basketball practice on Jan. 13. Afterward, though, was a bit of a whirlwind.

Before hitting the gym, Arnett called Lane Kiffin, who was recruiting Arnett to play football at Tennessee. While he likes basketball, Arnett's future is on the gridiron, where the 2011 prospect is a three-star receiver with a boatload of interest.

So before hoops practice he called Kiffin to talk logistics.

"Right before basketball practice I called Lane Kiffin…to tell him that I wanted to get down to Tennessee (for a visit)," Arnett said. "And then after basketball practice he was at USC."

Prior to practice, Arnett was being recruited by Kiffin at Tenneseee. And afterward? He didn't know if Kiffin wanted him at USC, nor did he know if Tennesse and its new coach would want him. Heck, he didn't even know who UT's new coach would be.

Alas, this wasn't the first time Arnett had dealt with change this off-season. Indeed, if anyone has kept tabs on the college football coaching carousel that's been whirling since December, it's Arnett.

His future depends on it – just look at the schools recruiting the Saginaw, Mich., native.

Notre Dame (Charlie Weis fired, Brian Kelly hired), Tennessee (Lane Kiffin bolting to USC) and Cincinnati (Kelly left) have all offered, and they've all had coaching changes in the past five weeks. Kentucky, which is showing interest as well, ushered in a new coach of its own. And there is of course the now-annual consternation over Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, which has also offered.

Even though he's had trouble keeping tabs on exactly which schools are still offering, Arnett is taking it all in stride.

"I think that's just the way it goes," said the 5-11, 160-pound Arnett. "When Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame, everyone knew that was his dream job and everyone knew he was going to leave. He was bigger than Cincinnati. They just didn't have enough for him. Same with lane Kiffin. He recruited Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart and (Dwayne) Jarrett. (USC) is home for him.

"That's just the way it goes."

There isn't drama everywhere. One school recruiting Arnett that hasn't had the tumultuous off-season is Northwestern, where Pat Fitzgerald effuses purple and inked a contract extension in June. While the Wildcats haven't offered yet, Arnett said he gets a lot of email from NU, adding "The coach has hit me up on Facebook."

"I'm surprised they haven't offered me yet," Arnett said, "but they probably just want to see me in person. I think I'll go to a camp down there."

Oregon, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State have all offered, and there is interest from a handful of other schools as well: Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama are some of the big names also showing interest.

Along with coaching stability – seemingly a rarity among schools recruiting him – Arnett likes the Cats' wide-open offense.

"They throw the ball a lot, especially that bowl game," Arnett said. "They threw it 78 times and I was like, ‘Dang, I like that….'

"When you see a quarterback go 50 for 78, they might as well have thrown it 100 times. That's definitely a plus. I know (Northwestern commit) Tony (Jones) was pumped about that."

(Jones, also from Michigan, attested to that in this article, written two weeks ago.)

Northwestern has a big-time haul of receivers coming in next season. Jones and Orlando native Rashad Lawrence are both three-star players; NU commit Jimmy Hall, from Ohio, had offers from all over the country. So NU's acumen recruiting receivers is well-establish.

As is its coach, Fitz, who shows no signs of bolting or getting canned, a fact that Arnett realizes and likes.

While Arnett says that he is going to focus on football in college, he isn't going to worry about his myriad pigskin options until his hoops season is over.

"I pretty much haven't sat down and thought about where I want to go," Arnett said. "Sometime when basketball is over and camps get started I'll start narrowing it down....

"(The basketball season) is going real good. Now we're 5-2; we lost two games we shouldn't have. But it's cool – we're going to win state this year."

Confidence in a receiver is a good thing. Presumably, so, too, is having a stable head coach.

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