Arkansas junior quarterback Ryan Mallett -- with almost every record possible for passing -- announced through the school that he will enter the NFL draft.
Mallett broke 32 school records over the last two seasons, leading the Razorbacks to records of 8-5 and 10-2. He said Thursday night that he will not return for his senior season. Mallett has earned his degree after four seasons of college.
"After careful consideration, I have decided to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft," Mallett said. "Ever since I was a kid, my dream has always been to play for the Razorbacks and I am thankful I had the opportunity to do so.
"A year ago, when I returned to school I said I wanted to help lead this team to a place among the nation's elite and for the Razorback community to have a mindset to expect greatness. There is no doubt we got there together and this program will continue to play games on the biggest stages and when it does we'll come out swinging.
"Playing in the NFL is a goal of mine and I am grateful to the people that have prepared me to take the next step. Coach (Bobby) Petrino is a winner, a man of character and the hardest worker I have ever seen.
"I'd also like to thank Coach (Garrick) McGee for everything he has done for me and in particular helping develop my mental approach to the game.
"The leadership of Chancellor David Gearhart and Director of Athletics Jeff Long is a model for me and I am extremely appreciative of the tireless work they do for all University of Arkansas students every day. The Razorback fans are the greatest in the country and their support for me and the team throughout my career has been humbling. Arkansas is where my heart is and I'm proud to say that I will always be a Razorback."
The decision was expected. Petrino had said in early January last year after Mallett decided to return for his junior year that the quarterback would be back for one more season, then he would head to the NFL. On Thursday, Petrino was complimentary of the way Mallett handled himself the last two seasons as UA quarterback.
"I am very proud of Ryan Mallett and I can't say enough about what he has done for this program," Petrino said. "Leaders do their job extremely well and lift everyone around them to compete better and Ryan does those things.
"One of the greatest parts about coaching is watching individuals become adults while they are in college and Ryan has certainly developed not just as a player, but as a person. I know Ryan will be successful in life and I wish him the best in the NFL."
Mallett Declares for Draft
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