Arnett: 'I earned the right to be released'

Transferring from one BCS school to another is hardly a cut-and-dry ordeal. Sign in or subscribe now to read more about this former prep All-American that says he needs to leave Knoxville.

Attrition of head coaching changes have hampered Tennessee football in recent years. As the Volunteers approach having a full roster of 85 scholarship student-athletes this fall, they appear to be losing one of their top rising sophomores along the way.

Wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett has asked Tennessee and coach Derek Dooley for a release from his athletic scholarship so he can be closer to his home in Michigan.

Arnett was's No. 8 receiver in the country in the Class of 2011. The four-star prospect, who was also a U.S. Army All-American, opened up about his reasoning for transferring to

Arnett cited a pair of heart attacks, usage of dialysis and other health issues with his father William Arnett, which "has made it so I cannot focus on anything but this health/well being. I never imagined being unable to have my dad at any games or being able to see me as he endures his battle with health. Yes, I want to play football, but I need to be here for my dad and with my family. I am also still pursuing my goal of being the best student-athlete I can be."

William Arnett was forced to retire from his job with General Motors. Mother Virginia Arnett's financial issues were augmented somewhat over the last four years by an $1,100 disability check that arrived monthly. Once DeAnthony turned 18, the checks started arriving in his name and he would share the funds with his mother. However, DeAnthony said he received a letter from the Social Security Administration saying the family would no longer receive those checks after he and graduated from Saginaw (Mich.) High School this past June.

Virginia was able to attend just one football game during the 2011 season.

"As this season went on I never was used to my parents not being at my games, so it made the season a little harder for me. But, I still competed hard in my classes as my transcript grades from last semester were three Bs and a C. And, I appeared in all 12 games as a true freshman this season, working hard every week to earn playing time," said DeAnthony Arnett, who finished with 24 catches for 242 yards (10.1 avg.) and two touchdowns.

That total of 242 receiving yards are the sixth-most by a true freshman in Tennessee history. His most productive game came at Florida in mid-September when the 6-foot, 175-pounder caught eight balls for 59 yards. That put him in the books as having the most catches by a Vol freshman since Kelley Washington totaled 11 grabs against LSU in the 2001 SEC Championship Game.

"Coach Dooley, myself or anybody doesn't know what the future holds for my father, and I feel that I represented the University of Tennessee the best way I can on and off the field," Arnett said. "I feel I have earned the right to be released unconditional to all schools in Michigan, especially with the University of Tennessee not scheduling any program from the state of Michigan on their current or future schedules."

Tennessee's non-conference games on the 2012 schedule are North Carolina State, Georgia State, Akron and Troy.

The wide receiver added that Dooley will not allow an unconditional release to Michigan and Michigan State.

"He told me I can attend any MAC school that I want and if I wanted to attend the University of Michigan and Michigan State University then I would have to pay for school instead of be on scholarship," Arnett said. "I don't know what's next. My family can't afford to pay for school and my father's health isn't a good enough excuse for me to attend a BCS school close to home.

"Therefore, as a student-athlete, I feel coach Dooley is trying to hinder my success by not allowing me to compete at a BCS level! And, he's neglected the fact that my father is severely ill."

DeAnthony Arnett hauls in one of the final passes of his career as a Volunteer against Kentucky in Lexington in November. Photo by Danny Parker/

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