Mustain, Norman Staying Home

SPRINGDALE -- Springdale's Five all have homes now.

And for the last two Bulldogs, the move won't be a long one.

Mitch Mustain, one of the most coveted quarterbacks in the country, and receiver Andrew Norman committed together to the University of Arkansas on Monday.

The duo's announcement came in front of a room packed with reporters, coaches, teammates, family and friends at Springdale's Willard Walker Fieldhouse.

Mustain's announcement came first, proclaiming his choice after thanking coaches, teammates and others.

"That being said, I've decided to go to the University of Arkansas and be a Razorback," Mustain said to the delight of the fans who had gathered in the room.

Norman then joined his longtime friend and teammate in announcing his decision to go to Arkansas, also drawing a large round of cheers.

For Mustain, the decision came down to Arkansas and Notre Dame, with the quarterback finalizing his decision over the past week,

"It pretty much came down to where can I win a championship and it means a lot? And Arkansas to me was that place," Mustain said. "I'd look at all those schools in a heartbeat again; I felt like I owed it to myself. But in the long run, this is where I want to be."

Mustain called Norman at home late Monday morning, asking the receiver to meet him at Springdale.

When Mustain informed Norman of his decision, the pair quickly decided to make the commitment together.

"I've probably known for a little while that I wanted to go there," Norman said. "But I was waiting on Mitch to see where he wanted to go, because it's a dream for us to play college football together. It's just something that can't happen to many people."

The pair then met with Arkansas coach Houston Nutt to inform him of their decision.

"He was excited, I was excited, and I think we both felt a lot of pressure off our shoulders," Mustain said.

Mustain isn't worried about getting the chance to throw the ball at Arkansas.

"It wasn't much of a factor to begin with," Mustain said. "They've had Matt   Jones for four years and it's not hard to tell that he's not going to throw it.

"You know, with legs like that and outrunning SEC D-backs, I wouldn't throw it either. ... I just want to win. Whether they throw it a lot. We can throw it 40 percent of the time, but if we're winning, I'm happy."

The recruiting process and everything that went along with it --speculation, rumors, etc. --wore on Mustain.

"Here lately, once you're done taking your trips and meeting people and seeing things and you have to get down to the homework part of it, you know you don't like doing homework in school, it's the same thing here," Mustain said. "It's one of those things that I had to do.

"It wasn't real fun, it really wasn't."

Springdale High coach Gus Malzahn was glad that the recruiting circus surrounding the five highly-recruited Bulldogs is over. Springdale seniors Ben Cleveland (Florida), Bartley Webb (Notre Dame) and Damian Williams (Florida) are the three others.

"It's really a big relief," Malzahn said. "Glad to have this behind us. I know our guys are too, and I know their teammates are glad. It all really works together. We got this behind us and now we can just think about the Bulldogs' goals and our dreams and accomplishing them."

The offer to join the Hogs has been on the table for more than a year for Mustain, before he ever started a varsity game.

Mustain threw for 2,164 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior, but his season ended when he broke his right arm in the first half of the Bulldogs' Class AAAAA semifinal loss to Little Rock Central. He also rushed for 14 touchdowns, despite sitting out large chunks of many games because of Springdale's dominance.

Norman led Springdale in catches last year with 44 for 524 yards and five touchdowns.

"A lot of people see me as a possession receiver, but I can go out there and make a play and make a diving catch and juke a few people out and take one into the end zone," Norman said. "So, I think I need to work on that aspect of my game right now, but I'm going to get there."

Williams, who made his commitment public with a printed statement, looked on as Mustain and Norman made their intentions known.

"I'm just happy for these two guys," Williams said. "I know how hard it was for me to make the decision and I know it was really hard for Mitch especially."

Williams said he never tried to sell Florida to Mustain.

"I just told Mitch, 'Hey man, do what's best for you,'" Williams said. "If you want to go somewhere close, go for it. We had to do what was best for us and they did the same thing."

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