QB Mortensen Returns To Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE -- Quarterback Alex Mortensen decided Friday to return to Arkansas after speaking with several of his former teammates and meeting with football coach Houston Nutt a day earlier.

Chris Mortensen, Alex's father and an NFL analyst for ESPN, said last Friday that his son was transferring to Georgia Southern. But the sophomore started having second thoughts about his decision as soon as he arrived in Statesboro, Ga.

"His decision now to stay at Arkansas is not a reflection of coach (Brian) VanGorder or Georgia Southern," Chris Mortensen said. "It's a reflection of his loyalty to his teammates and the university (Arkansas) and Fayetteville. He's excited about going forward."

VanGorder, Georgia Southern's football coach, acknowledged Thursday that Alex Mortensen had decided not to play for the Eagles despite joining the team only a few days ago. Mortensen would have been eligible to play immediately since Georgia Southern is a Division I-AA program, but he never felt comfortable with the move.

Nutt and Mortensen met Thursday in Fayetteville as the quarterback tried to weigh his options. Chris Mortensen said his son never enrolled at Georgia Southern, and Nutt left the door open for the sophomore from Fairburn, Ga. to return to the Hogs.

"I would welcome Alex back because of his character and because of his attitude," Nutt said Friday. "He has always been a first-class guy."

Mortensen also considered transferring to Louisville, but he chose to come back to Arkansas after several teammates helped him realize how much he was leaving behind in Fayetteville. He has since returned to school.

"He feels terrible about the position he put Arkansas and Georgia Southern in. He's apologized to Coach VanGorder and Coach Nutt," Chris Mortensen said. "It's a humbling experience when you go through that. (But) he's a better man for it."

Nutt said he understood it was a tough decision for Mortensen to make, adding that "all quarterbacks want to play." But Mortensen's return gives the Razorbacks three scholarship quarterbacks -- along with sophomore Casey Dick and junior Robert Johnson -- heading into spring practice.

Mortensen saw limited playing time in two years at Arkansas. He redshirted his freshman season, and completed only 6-of-17 passes for 63 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown in four games last season.

"Alex just didn't understand how tough it was going to be (to leave Arkansas) until he made that decision," Chris Mortensen said.

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