Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Starkel leaving Arkansas football team
Nick Starkel, Arkansas quarterback, throws the ball in the second quarter vs Alabama Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
FAYETTEVILLE Quarterback Nick Starkel announced Friday that he will leave the Arkansas football team.
"After talking with Coach (Sam) Pittman, I have decided to leave Arkansas and pursue playing football elsewhere whether that is professionally or at another level," Starkel wrote.
Starkel started five games for the Razorbacks this year after transferring from Texas A&M. He will have one year of eligibility remaining at his next school, should he choose to continue playing college football.
One of five starting quarterbacks at Arkansas in 2019, Starkel completed 96 of 179 passes for 1,152 yards, 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Starkel lost a preseason position battle with fellow-graduate transfer Ben Hicks of SMU, but earned the starting job with a strong showing in the second half of the Razorbacks' Week 2 loss at Ole Miss, where he was 17 of 24 for 201 yards and a touchdown.
He earned the starting job in time for Arkansas' game the following week against Colorado State. Starkel completed 20 of 35 passes for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns in his debut as starter, a 55-34 victory by the Razorbacks.
Starkel followed that performance with a five-interception game against San Jose State the following week, the first game in a 10-game losing streak to end the year. He was knocked out of the Texas A&M game with an arm injury on Sept. 28 and struggled in his next start, a 7-for-19 performance in a loss at Kentucky.
His final start was at Alabama, where he completed 5 of 19 passes and was intercepted three times. He was 3 of 10 off the bench in his final appearance at LSU.
With Starkel gone and Hicks out of eligibility, Arkansas has three quarterbacks - John Stephen Jones, KJ Jefferson and Jack Lindsey - on the roster. The Razorbacks do not have a quarterback committed to the class of 2020 after Chandler Morris decommitted following the firing of his father, former Arkansas coach Chad Morris, on Nov. 10.
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