Michigan State Football: Will DeAnthony Arnett make an impact in 2014?

DeAnthony Arnett (5) makes a nice run and catch in the Spartans annual Green-White game. (AP PHOTO)

DeAnthony Arnett (5) makes a nice run and catch in the Spartans annual Green-White game. (AP PHOTO)

Over the past two seasons no player has managed to excite and confuse Michigan State football fans more than DeAnthony Arnett.

Originally from Saginaw, Arnett transferred to MSU from Tennessee following his freshman year so he could be closer to his father who was having heart and kidney issues.

Arnett, a 5-foot-11 185 pound wide receiver, had a productive first year at Tennessee catching 24 passes for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns. When he transferred to MSU following the 2011 season he was expected to be one of the top receivers on the team since almost all of the Spartan’s receivers from the previous year had graduated. Things didn’t exactly go as planned.

Three catches for 69 yards is all that Arnett contributed in 2012 in extremely sparse playing time. This left Spartan fans, including myself, perplexed. The other wide receivers were clearly not getting the job done, dropping over 60 passes that season, so why not give Arnett a shot?

This is a question that we still don’t completely have the answer to, but Mark Dantonio is one of the best coaches in the game so I’m sure there were legitimate reasons Arnett didn’t see the field more. One of the most likely hypotheses is that he had trouble learning the playbook, so even if he had all the talent in the world he still couldn’t play.

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In 2013, DeAnthony Arnett was again expected to be a contributor but the Michigan State coaches decided it would benefit him to redshirt in order to make sure he could make an impact his last two years.

It’s pointless to speculate why things turned out the way they did for Arnett the past two seasons. What is important is the impact (or lack there of) he will have in 2014.

It could be tough for Arnett to crack his way into the rotation next season since the Spartans only loss at wide receiver was Bennie Fowler. All the other pass catchers are returning, meaning Arnett is going to have to earn his way onto the field. This will probably be the hardest thing for him to do, but if he can impress the coaches enough in practice he will get some opportunities.

If Arnett dedicated himself last year and fixed whatever was keeping him off the field, he is in great position to take advantage of any opportunity he is given.

As far as X’s and O’s are concerned, Arnett is a slot receiver whose game is very similar to fellow Spartan Macgarrett Kings Jr. He is a reliable target who likes finding space between defenders in the middle of the field, and he can make plays once he has the ball in his hands. While it doesn’t bode well for Arnett that Kings has already established himself in that role, Michigan State can use as many playmakers as they can get, so if Arnett proves to be a reliable weapon he will find himself on the field regularly.

Arnett was one of the top ten wide receiver recruits in the entire country coming out of high school, so he has plenty of potential. It’s up to him and the Michigan State coaching staff to pry that potential out of him. If they can do that, 2014 could finally be the year that DeAnthony Arnett makes an impact at Michigan State.

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