No doubt there were more than a few University of Arkansas football fans who cringed when they heard that standout Springdale junior quarterback Mitch Mustain was planning a trip to visit the Evil Orange Empire.
Not the Tennessee branch in Knoxville, but the Texas one in Austin, the home of the hated Longhorns.
But to Mustain (6-3, 200, 4.6) - who will be taking an unofficial visit to Arkansas today - it was not necessarily a trip into enemy territory, but just a research mission to one of the 10 schools that has offered him a scholarship.
Arkansas, Texas, LSU, Louisville, Michigan State, Texas A&M, Houston, Louisville, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss have all put offers on the table.
"It's all very exciting," Mustain said. "I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would get this much attention. It is all very humbling. I'm keeping my head on straight and just trying to take a good look at everything."
Springdale head coach Gus Malzahn knows why colleges are impressed with Mustain, who will be visiting Arkansas today along with Springdale offensive lineman Bartley Webb (6-6, 285, 5.4) and Wynne defensive tackle L.T. Walker (6-4, 285, 5.2) while Springdale all-purpose standout Damian Williams (6-2, 190, 4.4) drops by on Wednesday.
"We knew he was going to be a good passer and quarterback for us, but he also turned out to be a tremendous leader for us," Malzahn said. "He has all the intangibles you could want in a quarterback and that's why the offers are flying in for him."
The one from Texas came this weekend when Mustain was invited down for the Longhorns' first spring practice.
"I liked it," Mustain said. "I went down there Friday got a chance to visit with head coach Mack Brown and (Texas quarterback) Coach Greg Davis and got a chance to spend some time with just them before all the other recruits showed up. I got to meet all the players like (quarterback) Vince Young and others. I got a chance to talk with them about their offense and what they were looking for."
Mustain, who is rehabbing nicely from the two broken bones above his wrist he suffered early in a Class AAAAA semifinal round playoff loss to Little Rock Central, is very straightforward in what he is looking for in a school
"I'm looking for a place that I can experience success both as a team and as a player," Mustain said. "I want to go to a place that I can work and develop and then be able to go to the next level."
Arkansas was the first one to offer Mustain a scholarship back last summer, but there has been a rush these past couple of months with offers flying in left and right according to his mom Beck Campbell.
"It's been a real interesting process, there is a lot of info to take in and we are doing our best to research all of them and give him a chance to see these places," Campbell said. "Mitch is looking at the football end of things and I am looking at the living end of things and just what kind of situation it would be for him."
Arkansas is certainly part of that picture for Mustain, who completed 63 percent of his passes (139-of-222) while throwing for 2,169 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for another 350 and 14 more scores.
"Arkansas has been wonderful to Mitchell and (UA quarterbacks) Coach (Roy) Wittke has been in touch with him as much as possible," Campbell said. "We love the coaches up there and it is certainly one of the main schools in the picture."
There will no doubt be more schools offering when they come to see Mustain during spring practice. He'll then fit in a few school visits and camps in June before 7-on-7 revs up in July.
"I think after spring practice we'll have an idea of what schools he is interested in and the ones that are interested in him," Campbell said. "Then we can visit some of the campuses and he can take a little time to make a decision. I think he might have an idea what he is going to do by the end of the summer."
Mustain will have a chance to visit USC when the Red Bulldogs play in the Nike Select 7-on-7 tournament July 14-16 in Los Angeles.
"That's going to be awesome to be a part of," Mustain said. "I think it's going to be a great summer for our team and then we'll be ready to have a great season."
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