He had what seemed like a convincing case for an NCAA waiver that would allow him to suit up for Michigan State this coming season rather than sit out a year. After playing his freshman year at Tennessee, Arnett, a native of Saginaw, Mich., transferred to Michigan State in January to be close to his ailing father, William, who is waiting for a kidney transplant and is on dialysis.
DeAnthony Arnett caught 24 passes last season as a freshman for Tennessee.
While the NCAA can be unpredictable in waiver rulings, it seemed like if ever there was a player who deserved the green light, Arnett would be it. But the NCAA continued to ask the Arnetts for medical information, and no decision came during Michigan State's spring practice session.
"At one point in time, I wasn't sure because it was taking so long," Arnett told ESPN.com "They kept asking for information. But my dad just told me, 'Keep it in the good Lord's hands, and everything will happen."
Arnett was resting late Thursday morning before a workout at his old high school when the phone rang. Head coach Mark Dantonio told him the good news: the NCAA had granted his residence waiver. Arnett, who had 24 receptions for 242 yards as a freshman last season with Tennessee, has three years of eligibility left.
"I didn't even know it was coming," Arnett said. "It was a big surprise. It was a big relief off my back. I was able to really take a deep breath."
Arnett called his father, who had undergone a recent surgery.
"He was just happy," Arnett said. "He was glad it was over with and he didn't have to give any more information."
William hopes to be in the Spartan Stadium stands Aug. 31 when Michigan State's season kicks off against Boise State.
"He's really looking forward to it," DeAnthony Arnett said. "He's excited, man. When I talked to him, that's all he talked about, being able to see me play."
This spring, Arnett acclimated himself with the Spartans offense, which is similar to the system at Tennessee. He's excited to work with former Spartans great Andre Rison, who is returning to school and will serve as a student assistant with the team.
"Me and Dre go way back," Arnett said. "He's going to be a big help for us."
The same can be said for Arnett, who provides a boost to a Michigan State offense that loses its top three receivers, its top tight end and its starting quarterback from the 2011 squad.
How can Arnett help the Spartans in 2012?
"Just be me, be the guy I've always been," he said. "A speed guy, be able to create separation and make plays. That's what I do.
"I'm just looking to take the offense to another level."