FAYETTEVILLE Quarterback Brandon Mitchell is one of four players who will transfer from Arkansas, coach Bret Bielema said Monday.
Mitchell, receiver/running back Keante Minor, defensive end Austin Flynn and safety Defonta Lowe were officially given scholarship releases by the Razorbacks. Mitchell, a redshirt senior, had finished spring practices as the back-up quarterback on Arkansas' depth chart.
“Through meetings with these student-athletes, a determination was made that it would be mutually beneficial for them to pursue their goals elsewhere," Bielema said. "Brandon is on track to earn his degree this summer and utilize the NCAA graduate transfer exception to play immediately this fall. We fully support them and wish them all the best moving forward.”
Mitchell played in eight games last season as a receiver, recording 17 catches for 272 yards. He played quarterback sparingly in a loss to Alabama and threw a touchdown pass from his receiver position in a win over Auburn. The Amite, La. native was suspended for four games for a violation of team rules.
He practiced behind Brandon Allen at quarterback during spring practices, working mostly with the Razorbacks' reserves. Asked following spring drills if he would consider a move back to receiver, Mitchell said not likely.
“I talked with Coach once he first got here, and he asked me what position I want to play and I just told him ‘strictly quarterback,'" Mitchell said last month. "That’s nothing that has come up between us. So I really don’t know where to go from there.
“With the competition not being over at quarterback, I’m just focused on strictly quarterback. I don’t even want to consider anything else right now. My mind’s on quarterback.”
Mitchell didn't return phone calls seeking comment on Monday, but did post a message on his Facebook page that read in part, "I want to say thank you to all the Razorback Nation for helping me become the young man I am today. I wish nothing but the best for the University of Arkansas and I appreciate their professionalism throughout this entire process. God Bless!"
In three seasons, Mitchell completed 23 of 45 passes for 332 yards. He rushed for two touchdowns from the quarterback position, but never started a game under center.
Mitchell also played basketball two seasons for Arkansas, last during the 2011-12 season.
While it remains unclear where Mitchell will transfer, he has connections at several FBS schools. His former offensive coordinators, Garrick McGee and Paul Petrino, are head coaches at UAB and Idaho, respectively, while former Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino is entering his first season at Western Kentucky.
Bielema had previously announced Flynn and Lowe would transfer, though their releases weren't finalized until Monday. Minor, a sophomore, had been used a reserve running back during spring practices after playing receiver last season.