A&M transfer QB says Arkansas showing interest

By: Matt Jones
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Texas A&M's Nick Starkel (17) looks to pass against Wake Forest during the first half of the Belk Bowl NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Texas A&M's Nick Starkel (17) looks to pass against Wake Forest during the first half of the Belk Bowl NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

— Arkansas might be in the mix for another graduate-transfer quarterback.

During an interview on "The Justin Dunning Podcast" on Tuesday, transferring Texas A&M quarterback Nick Starkel listed the Razorbacks as one of a handful of schools he is considering. Others are Ohio State, SMU and Arizona, where Starkel's former head coach, Kevin Sumlin, now works.

Starkel is expected to receive his degree from Texas A&M this summer and would be immediately eligible for the 2019 season. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

"People probably wouldn't like this, but the Arkansas coaches reached out to me and are still very much so reaching out to me and contacting me and stuff," Starkel said.

Starkel said transferring within the same division to Arkansas "would be an awkward situation (for Texas A&M fans) saying, ‘I’ll root for you wherever you go.’ I don’t know. I might not want to test that."

Arkansas already has added a graduate transfer in former SMU quarterback Ben Hicks, who was the starter for Chad Morris' final two seasons as head coach of the Mustangs. Hicks has enrolled in classes at Arkansas and will go through spring practices.

Morris, the second-year Arkansas coach, said Wednesday the Razorbacks are "always in the quarterback market" when asked whether Arkansas might add another quarterback this offseason. Morris was not asked directly about Starkel because he cannot publicly comment on recruits.

"You can never have enough of those guys; got to have competition there," Morris said of quarterbacks. "...We’ll see as the spring unfolds, how things go. We’ll go through and find some needs that we have. We’re always looking."

The Razorbacks are expected to return quarterbacks Connor Noland, John Stephen Jones and Daulton Hyatt from the 2018 roster, and Mississippi high school standout KJ Jefferson signed with the team in December.

Ty Storey and Cole Kelley, who combined to start 11 times at quarterback last season, will not return to the program. Kelley has announced his intent to transfer to Southeastern Louisiana and Storey is listed in the NCAA's database for transferring players.

Starkel played sparingly in five games as a redshirt sophomore in 2018 after losing a preseason position battle to Kellen Mond. He completed 15 of 22 passes for 169 yards.

A year earlier under a different coaching staff, Starkel played in seven games and completed 123 of 205 passes for 1,793 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was intercepted six times.

Starkel played high school football in Argyle, Texas, about 30 miles north of Fort Worth. He originally committed to Oklahoma State before committing and signing with Texas A&M.

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