Dick Granted Scholarship Release

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas' battle for the starting quarterback job lost one potential candidate Tuesday.

Redshirt freshman Nathan Dick, who started the final two games of the 2008 season, asked for and was granted a release from his Arkansas scholarship. According to Arkansas, it was not a "blanket release" meaning Dick can only transfer to schools he told the Razorbacks he was considering.

"Nathan has requested and received his release from the University of Arkansas," coach Bobby Petrino said in an athletic department statement. "We appreciate his contributions to the Razorback program. We wish him the best as he pursues his future both academically and athletically."

Arkansas did not specify which schools Dick will be permitted to check out. His father, Steve Dick, didn't return phone messages left at his house and on his cell phone Tuesday.

However, Arkansas did say Dick will be "eligible to play immediately at all those schools this season." It's a sign that he will not be transferring to another Division I school, where players must sit out a season under NCAA rules.

Dick spent most of 2008 behind his older brother, Casey, and true freshman Tyler Wilson on Arkansas' depth chart. He moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart when Wilson was sidelined indefinitely with mononucleosis and eventually took the starting job from his brother for the final two games.

Dick completed 36 of 62 passes for 454 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in three games. He completed 25 of 43 for 333 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in the 31-28 loss at Mississippi State.

Shortly after the season, Petrino was asked about Dick's future on The Sports Animals radio show. The coach said he already had spoken to Dick about rumors he was transferring.

"Nathan came in probably about three weeks before he started to play because there had been that rumor out there," Petrino said on the show. "I just brought him in and talked to him. He said there was absolutely no truth to it. He was real happy at the University of Arkansas. Certainly when I think Tyler went in front of him in the Texas game you could see where maybe he thought, ‘Hey, I need to leave.'

"But he stood in there and kept working hard. ..."

But Dick is officially out of the mix now, meaning Wilson and transfer Ryan Mallett are expected to compete for the starting job. Mallett — who transferred from Michigan last winter — sat out the 2008 season because of NCAA rules, while Wilson played in two games as Casey Dick's backup. The Razorbacks also have redshirt freshman Jim Youngblood on the roster.

In addition, Arkansas has an oral commitment from Wakeland (Texas) High quarterback Will Secord. Highly touted quarterback Raymond Cotton (Ft Meade, Md.), a former Auburn commitment, also is considering the Razorbacks.

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