Last year at this time, Ryan Mallett surprised some observers by announcing his return to Arkansas for another season.
This time around, absolutely no one will be surprised by the quarterback’s decision.
Mallett announced through a school press release that he will be leaving Fayetteville and making himself available for the April NFL draft.
“After careful consideration, I have decided to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft,” Mallett said at the beginning of a rather lengthy statement. “Ever since I was a kid, my dream has always been to play for the Razorbacks and I am thankful I had the opportunity to do so. A year ago, when I returned to school I said I wanted to help lead this team to a place among the nation’s elite and for the Razorback community to have a mindset to expect greatness. There is no doubt we got there together and this program will continue to play games on the biggest stages and when it does we’ll come out swinging.
“Playing in the NFL is a goal of mine and I am grateful to the people that have prepared me to take the next step. Coach (Bobby) Petrino is a winner, a man of character and the hardest worker I have ever seen. I’d also like to thank Coach (Garrick) McGee for everything he has done for me and in particular helping develop my mental approach to the game. The leadership of Chancellor David Gearhart and Director of Athletics Jeff Long is a model for me and I am extremely appreciative of the tireless work they do for all University of Arkansas students every day.
“The Razorback fans are the greatest in the country and their support for me and the team throughout my career has been humbling. Arkansas is where my heart is and I’m proud to say that I will always be a Razorback.”
Head coach Bobby Petrino expressed pride in what Mallett accomplished during his time with the Razorbacks.
“I am very proud of Ryan Mallett and I can’t say enough about what he has done for this program. Leaders do their job extremely well and lift everyone around them to compete better and Ryan does those things. One of the greatest parts about coaching is watching individuals become adults while they are in college and Ryan has certainly developed not just as a player, but as a person. I know Ryan will be successful in life and I wish him the best in the NFL.”
Mallett finished his Arkansas career
with a game-killing pick as one of the most prolific passers in the school’s history, throwing for 7,496 yards and 62 touchdowns. In 2010, Mallett’s completion percentage jumped from 55.8 to 64.7, although he threw 12 interceptions compared to seven in 2009.
With Andrew Luck‘s decision to remain in school earlier today, there’s a very good chance that Mallett could become the first quarterback taken in the upcoming draft.