Another QB To Join Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE -- Consider it a case of addition by subtraction.

After hearing that Mitch Mustain was transferring to Southern California, Palma (Calif.) High football coach Jeff Carnazzo randomly called Arkansas to see if the school was in need of a quarterback.

Brian Reader, who broke several Palma passing records in his only season as the starter, was still looking for a Division I-A school to sign with.

But after an unexpected recruiting process, Reader (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) has decided to come to Arkansas in the fall as a walk-on, giving the Razorbacks more depth at the quarterback position.

"I've just got to go there and present myself like I'm coming to play," Reader said. "I have to basically show (the coaches) that I'm not just a fluke or I'm just some kid from California that can't play ball."

Reader took an unofficial visit to Arkansas last week, and after returning to California, he made his decision Friday to walk on with the Razorbacks.

Reader said he has already enrolled at Arkansas for the fall, though he won't be on scholarship.

"I think he can really be a diamond in the rough," Carnazzo said. "I think he can be a talented kid and a guy that could possibly play for (the Razorbacks) at some point."

Arkansas safeties coach Chris Vaughn, who is also the team's recruiting coordinator, confirmed Wednesday evening that Reader will join the Razorbacks as a walk-on in the fall.

Reader, a three-sport athlete at Palma, passed for 2,411 yards and 19 touchdowns last season while completing more than 64 percent of his passes.

Sacramento State had offered Reader a full football scholarship, but he said he turned it down because he wanted to play for a bigger school.

He was set to attend City College of San Francisco, a junior college where he was expected to start in the fall with the hopes of transferring to a Division I-A program in the future.

On a hunch, Carnazzo called Arkansas and left a message with offensive coordinator David Lee, who is also the team's quarterbacks coach.

"I was just waiting to see if anything ever came up, and we saw an opportunity (at Arkansas) when Mitch Mustain left and went to USC," Reader said.

Lee called Carnazzo back, and a highlight tape of Reader was sent for Arkansas' coaches to evaluate. Impressed, the coaches invited Reader to fly to Fayetteville for a visit.

Arkansas has been in search of some quarterback help since Mustain asked for a release from his scholarship on Jan. 16.

Junior Casey Dick, who replaced Mustain as the starter toward the end of last season, was the only scholarship quarterback the Razorbacks had on their roster in the spring.

Dick will enter the fall as the starter, but there is some uncertainty as to who will be his backup when Arkansas opens the season Sept. 1 against Troy at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Sophomore Nathan Emert, a Shiloh Christian graduate who transferred from Missouri Southern, seems to be the likely choice to be Dick's backup. He took the majority of the snaps with the second-team offense in the spring.

Sophomore Clark Irwin is still on the roster, and Arkansas picked up a pair of Texas quarterbacks on National Signing Day -- Joe Chaisson and Nathan Dick, Casey's younger brother.

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