Mustain Returns To Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE -- After several days of wild rumors and much speculation about his future, quarterback Mitch Mustain has decided to remain at Arkansas on a limited basis.

Mustain will re-enroll in classes for the spring semester but won't rejoin the football team, a source close to the situation told The Morning News on Friday. The highly recruited freshman will simply be a student at Arkansas.

Mustain had spoken with several schools since Tuesday when Arkansas coach Houston Nutt granted the former Springdale High star a release from his scholarship. Mustain visited the University of Tulsa on Thursday, and he had planned to make a trip to Oklahoma earlier in the week.

According to the source, who asked to remain anonymous, Mustain had "numerous" schools interested in him.

But because the spring semester had already begun, the source said Mustain believes re-enrolling at Arkansas gives him more time to make an informed decision on what school he will next attend.

Nutt has said that he'd like for the former USA Today player of the year to return to the Razorbacks, but that appears unlikely.

Mustain and his mother, Beck Campbell, had no comment on Friday afternoon.

Mustain's decision to stay at Arkansas caps what has been one of the more bizarre weeks involving the Razorbacks in recent memory.

Gus Malzahn, Mustain's coach at Springdale High, announced Monday that he was leaving his job as Arkansas' offensive coordinator to accept a position at Tulsa. He will serve as an assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator under new Golden Hurricane coach Todd Graham.

Malzahn's decision to leave Arkansas came after he learned that Nutt planned to hire former Dallas Cowboys offensive assistant David Lee to be a co-offensive coordinator. That would have likely meant that Malzahn's role with the Razorbacks would have diminished.

A day after Malzahn accepted the job at Tulsa, Mustain asked Nutt for a release from his scholarship. Nutt granted the freshman his release.

"He wanted a release. I've granted the release," Nutt said during a news conference Tuesday evening. "Has he told me for sure he's transferring? No. So we'll just have to wait."

Mustain wasn't in class Tuesday when Arkansas' spring semester began, and he also moved out of his dorm room later that day. But the freshman wasn't able to decide on a school to transfer to in such a short period of time.

As expected, Lee was hired Wednesday to replace Malzahn as Arkansas' offensive coordinator, as well as take over as the quarterbacks coach.

Lee knew Mustain from when he worked with the quarterback on his mechanics before his junior season at Springdale High.

But Lee said he had no plans of trying to convince Mustain to rejoin the Razorbacks, and Lee's hire as offensive coordinator wasn't enough to get the freshman quarterback to return to the football team.

"As much as I would have enjoyed coaching Mitch, that opportunity is not going to be there," Lee said Wednesday. "And no, I'm not going to go actively recruit him or anything like that because I respect the family too much."

Mustain is expected to make a decision over the next few months about what school he'll attend next year. Tulsa and Oklahoma remain possible options, though he will likely have his choice of schools.

Mustain, considered the most decorated recruit to ever sign with the Razorbacks, started eight games as a freshman -- winning all of them.

But he was benched in favor of sophomore Casey Dick after throwing an interception on his first pass attempt in a 26-20 win at South Carolina on Nov. 4.

Mustain never regained the starting job, and he played sparingly over Arkansas' final five games. He completed 69-of-132 passes for 894 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.


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