Mustain Watch

Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain says his decision is coming more into focus and will definitely be made before his 2005 season gets underway.

By the time Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain takes his first snap of the 2005 prep season, we should all know where he is going to be playing his college football in 2006.

Mustain (6-3, 200) - the nation's top-rated quarterback - stated Monday night that it's his intention to have a decision in place by Sept. 2, maybe even by the start of practice on August 1.

"Definitely," Mustain said. "I am going to try and do my best. Right now I am at the point I am about ready to get it done. I'm just waiting until I am 100 percent sure before announcing where I am going to go."

Arkansas and Texas have long been thought to be the frontrunners for Mustain, who is regarded as the top high school quarterback in the nation and took a visit to Miami last week.

But there have been 27 total offers, he has played it close to the vest and he has waded through those offers with research and unofficial visits to come to a short list - one that he's got tucked away.

"I don't have that one on paper, just a few in my head that I think about," Mustain said. "I am going to now try to get it down between them. It's getting time to wind this down and think ahead to the season."

The Razorbacks have put their best foot forward in hopes of landing a difference maker who happens to be in their own back yard.

That included a special meeting with Mustain and the other four Springdale prospects that the Razorbacks have offered - Bartley Webb, Andrew Norman, Damian Williams and Ben Cleveland - as well as their parents.

"I really like the coaching staff and they have let us know how much they really want us and the direction they are headed in and how important we all are to them," Mustain said. "I enjoy going up to see them and talking about football and just a lot of things."

Mustain decided to take one more visit before leading his team into 7-on-7 tournament competition beginning Thursday in Los Angeles and the following week at Hoover Ala., and then an appearance at the Elite 11 Quarterback Challenge.

"I've been down to the (Florida) Keys on vacation, but never been to Miami," Mustain said. "We just headed down there Thursday and got to visit the campus all Thursday afternoon and all day Friday. It's a nice place."

But it would appear that the Hurricanes have too many young quarterbacks to really be a factor in the Mustain sweepstakes.

"I did the same thing I do on every one - look at the facilities, meet the coaches and some of the players, watch film and tour the campus," Mustain said. "They have two young quarterbacks - a redshirt freshman (Kirby Freeman) and a redshirt sophomore (Kyle Wright). They were both Top 5 and Elite 11 quarterbacks coming out.

"They also just got a commit from Pat Devlin from Pennsylvania, actually on Wednesday night right before I got there," Mustain added. "He's number five or number seven and he's going to the Elite 11. They have got some good ones there, really good ones.

"That is one of those things that factors in definitely, especially with them being that young," Mustain said. "If they were older, it would be that big a factor. But they are all young."

Mustain led his team to a win in a 7-on-7 tournament at Fountain Lake this past weekend and Springdale head coach Gus Malzahn gave him Monday night's competition off.

"He threw 111 balls on Saturday and we want him fresh for Thursday," Malzahn said. "He could have went tonight, but at the same time we are trying to develop (junior Jeremy) Paxton, our back-up quarterback - and see how the team responds to him."

The event's competition actually begins on Friday with a bevy of top California teams involved and just the Nike-invited Springdale squad as the only outsider.

"It's going to be fun and we are going to see a lot of great teams," Mustain said. "It's just going to make us that much better when the season rolls around and we try to meet our goal of winning the state championship."

After the 7-on-7 events are over, it will be wise to keep a eye out for a decision.

"When I feel it is time I am going to make my decision and let it be known," Mustain said. "It's about time."

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