Mustain Decides To Transfer To USC

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mitch Mustain made his collegiate debut against the University of Southern California, and now he'll resume his college career with the Trojans.

Mustain, the former Springdale High star, has decided to transfer to USC after spending most of his freshman season at Arkansas as the starting quarterback. Mustain asked Arkansas coach Houston Nutt for a release from his scholarship on Jan. 16. His decision to transfer came a day after former Springdale High coach Gus Malzahn announced that he was leaving his position as Arkansas' offensive coordinator to accept a job at the University of Tulsa. Mustain has been taking classes at Arkansas during the spring semester, but he didn't participate in spring practices with the Razorbacks. The former USA Today offensive player of the year briefly considered reuniting with Malzahn at Tulsa, but Mustain's decision to go to USC didn't come as a surprise. Wide receiver Damian Williams, who was one of Mustain's favorite targets at Springdale High and Arkansas, transferred to USC in January. Mustain, meanwhile, visited USC in mid-February. He was also in attendance to watch the team go through its Trojan Huddle spring scrimmage at the Coliseum on April 7. Mustain didn't return multiple messages left on his cell phone Thursday. Meanwhile, USC sports information director Tim Tessalone said the school couldn't comment until Mustain is enrolled. Because of their transfers to another Division I school, Mustain and Williams won't be eligible to play for the Trojans until 2008. Arkansas compliance director Marvin Caston said Thursday afternoon that he had not yet received a one-time transfer release from USC, which is needed for Mustain to join the Trojans. The release would ask Arkansas to provide the dates that Mustain has been enrolled at the school and whether he's still in good academic standing. Finally, the release would ask if Arkansas objected to Mustain transferring, which Caston said the school would not. Mustain saw his first action as a college quarterback when he replaced former Arkansas starter Robert Johnson in the fourth quarter of last year's 50-14 season-opening loss to USC in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mustain completed his first three passes -- including a 42-yarder to Williams -- and he scored Arkansas' only touchdown of the second half on a 4-yard run with 8:21 remaining. The following day, Nutt named Mustain the starter. The quarterback went on to set a school record by leading the Razorbacks to wins in his first eight starts as a freshman. But Mustain was benched early in a 26-20 win at South Carolina on Nov. 4. He played sparingly as the backup to Casey Dick over the remaining five games of the season. Mustain, considered the most decorated recruit in Arkansas history, completed 69-of-132 passes for 894 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his only season with the Razorbacks.

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