Published December 30, 2011 - 9:24am
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At the start of 2011, one would have thought that Tennessee’s offense was set for greatness the next several years with the youth and talent at hand and the PlayStation-type numbers Tennessee was putting together through the first couple of weeks.
Yesterday, freshman wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett, who is a Michigan native, wanted a release of his scholarship and was seeking a transfer from the Tennessee program, and he cited a family illness as the reason, stating his father.
Multiple reports are surfacing that Derek Dooley will not release Arnett to either Michigan or Michigan State, where he was recruited heavily before deciding on Tennessee.
“I want to play football but I NEED to be here for my Dad and with my family,” Arnett said in an email to ESPN.
“Coach Dooley, myself or anybody doesn’t know what the future holds for my father,” Arnett said in the email. “I feel that I represented the University of Tennessee the best way I can on and off the field and I feel I have earned the right to be released unconditional to all schools in Michigan.”
All of you know that phenomenal wide receiver Justin Hunter tore his ACL three plays into the Florida game, and he went down for the year.
After the season, fellow wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers was suspended from the team with Dooley citing that Rogers will have to earn his way back onto the team.
Along with the Rogers’ announcement after the season, wide receivers’ coach Charlie Baggett left Tennessee because of ‘retirement’. So, a brand new receivers coach will have to get this group believing and develop playmakers.
All of a sudden, a position of strength headed into 2011 will absolutely be a position of concern for the Vols and Dooley in 2012. Who knows how Hunter will recover or if Rogers will even be back on the team.
Outside of Rogers and Hunter, Tennessee has not one proven receiver who can be a playmaker on the football field. Zach Rogers cannot catch a cold. Freshmen Matt Milton and Vincent Dallas provided no instant impact on the offense.
One name to watch out for as far as making an impact at wide receiver next year is backup tailback Rajion Neal. He showed up pretty well in the Kentucky game and later on in the season when the coaching staff moved Neal to wide receiver because they simply had to have his playmaking ability on the field somehow.
All in all, Tennessee does have concerns in 2012 at what was a position of strength entering 2011.