Bobby Petrino landed a major recruit for Arkansas even though national signing day is still a couple of weeks away. Former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett has transferred to Arkansas and will have three years of eligibility after sitting out the 2008 season.
The freshman played in 11 games for the Wolverines last season, but announced he was leaving after Rich Rodriguez replaced Lloyd Carr.
Mallett went to high school on the Texas side of Texarkana, where his parents work in the school system, Mallett lived on the Arkansas side. Now he returns to his home state.
"He's happy to be there,'' said Jim Mallett of his son on Thursday night. "He says, 'Dad, I'm back at home.'''
Arkansas spokesman Kevin Trainor said Thursday that Ryan Mallett was in the process of enrolling.
Petrino was hired to replace longtime Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt in December, and he faces a rebuilding project now that star tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones have decided to skip their senior seasons and jump to the NFL.
The 6-foot-7 Mallett figures to have an impact once he's eligible. He was 61-of-141 for 892 yards with seven touchdown passes and five interceptions last season while filling in for Chad Henne when he was injured.
Jim Mallett said his son had a great experience at Michigan. However, Rodriguez runs a spread offense that works well with mobile quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett is best suited for a pro-style offense.
"Different system, can't do anything about that,'' Jim Mallett said. "Had to find somewhere Ryan would fit in.''
Arkansas had quarterback Mitch Mustain, who signed with the Razorbacks in 2006 as a highly touted recruit from Springdale, but Mustain transferred to Southern California after one drama-filled year at Arkansas, leaving Casey Dick as the Razorbacks' starter this past season.
Jim Mallett said his son considered Tennessee, Texas A&M and UCLA, but after visiting Arkansas, he didn't make any trips to visit the other schools.
"Arkansas has always been a favorite of his,'' Jim Mallett said. "Because he grew up a Razorback.''