Mississippi State's Zach Arnett recently agreed to an extension with the Bulldogs, but it appears MSU's defensive coordinator remains a hot commodity.
According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Arnett has emerged as a top candidate to become defensive coordinator at Texas. New Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian is attempting to fill out his staff and Dodd's sources indicate Arnett's name is near the top of Sarkisian's list. It's currently unclear what level of interest Arnett might have to head to the Lone Star State.
What is known though is that Arnett has already previously indicated he's just fine staying in Starkville if that's how it plays out. Cowbell Corner confirmed last month that Arnett had agreed to an extension with MSU. Terms of the deal aren't known, but it backed up Arnett's claim he made in early December that he's enjoying his time as a Bulldog.
"I absolutely love it here," Arnett said at the time. "First of all, I get to work with a fantastic head coach (in Mike Leach) who’s a future Hall of Famer obviously. For a young coach to get to learn from him and the other guys on the staff who’ve got a lot more years experience and a lot more knowledge, the opportunity to learn from those guys is incredibly invaluable. There are great players in this program. Obviously there’s really good football players, but they’re even better guys. I’ve absolutely loved it here. And I’m married with two young kids and I don’t think there’s a better place to raise a family."
It should come as no surprise though that Sarkisian might look to lure Arnett to Austin. Arnett, by almost any measure, led a State defense that far exceeded expectations in 2020. Even with a group hampered by depth concerns and youth – not to mention in-season injuries, opt-outs and COVID-19 issues – MSU finished fifth in the Southeastern Conference in total defense behind only Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky. And of course at the center of it all was Arnett pulling the strings.
“He’s meant everything,” MSU linebacker Erroll Thompson said of Arnett last month.
For more on what has turned Arnett into one of the country's top assistant coaches, check out this story on Arnett's journey – from starring in two sports as a high school athlete in New Mexico, all the way to MSU.