Senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell has served as a reserve quarterback, starting receiver and even as a power forward for the Razorbacks, but after failing to win the starting QB job during the spring he has opted to transfer in his final year.
Mitchell, 6-4, 239, played receiver last year during an injury plagued season and has 43 career pass attempts with 25 completions (58.1 percent) for 332 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception with a 141.4 passer rating. A dual-threat, he also ran 23 times for 75 yards (3.3 ypc) with 2 touchdowns.
"After concluding post-spring meetings with every member of our team, Austin Flynn, Defonta Lowe, Keante Minor and Brandon Mitchell have been granted their release from the University of Arkansas football program," Razorback head coach Bret Bielema stated in a Monday release. "Through meetings with these student-athletes, a determination was made that it would be mutually beneficial for them to pursue their goals elsewhere. 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 redshirted as a freshman, so he is only eligible for the 2013 season and nothing beyond that. As long as he completes his degree and is looking for an FBS school that offers a graduate program that the University of Arkansas does not, he should be eligible on the FBS level. But if he does not, expect him to relocate to lower division school likely in the FCS ranks.
Mitchell ran with the second team throughout the spring, and while he fared well with the second group in the Red-White Scrimmage, before that he never consistently moved the ball. He threw an interception in the end zone in the scrimmage, and the week before that in limited scrimmage work he also threw an 85-yard pick-six.
Following the spring, Bielema said he would discuss with Mitchell what his options are, but it is believed he wanted to discuss the possibility of him working in dual roles, likely at wide receiver again as he did under John L. Smith while working behind Tyler Wilson and Brandon Allen, who is listed No. 1 on the depth chart for 2013 at quarterback.
It was already previously released that safety Defonta Lowe and defensive end Austin Flynn would transfer, but running back Keante Minor will also leave as he heads into his junior season. Both Minor and Lowe have redshirt seasons available. Minor previously worked at wide receiver but moved to running back this spring and did not have much success.
The situation leaves walk-on junior college transfer A.J. Derby as the backup to Allen with incoming freshman Austin Allen and Damon Mitchell eyeing the possibility of burning their redshirts.