Recruiting and roster building have helped the 2022 Arkansas Razorbacks assemble one …
Starkel, Boyd reuniting on Fayetteville visit
FILE — 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)
Former Texas A&M quarterback Nick Starkel arrived in Fayetteville on Thursday night to start his official visit to the University of Arkansas in his quest to find his next stop.
Starkel, 6-3, 215 pounds, announced on Jan.22 his intentions to leave the Aggies as a graduate transfer in the spring to find a new school for his final two years of eligibility.
He was recruited by Coach Chad Morris while at SMU. He's looking to build on his relationship with Morris, offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, receivers coach Justin Stepp and running backs coach Jeff Traylor. He's also looking forward to seeing former A&M coaches and current Razorback defensive coordinator John Chavis and safeties coach Ron Cooper.
"I'm definitely excited to see Chief and coach Cooper as well, but first and foremost I want to strength those relationships and second I want to see the academics there," Starkel said.
Starkel passed for 3,091 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior at Liberty Christian in Argyle, Texas, before signing with Texas A&M in 2016. He started started five games as a redshirt freshman while completing 123 of 205 passes for 1,793 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He set the freshman record for attempts, completions and passing yards in the 2017 Belk Bowl against Wake Forest by completing 42 of 63 passes for 499 yards and 4 touchdowns. Starkel appeared in four games last year and completed 15 of 22 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown while backing up starter Kellen Mond.
Starkel will be able to watch the Hogs' first spring practice today and hook up with his former A&M teammate and Arkansas running back Rakeem Boyd.
"I really want to see the guys they have on the team, the weapons they got," Starkel said. "I know Rakeem isn't practicing, but I would love to see how that defense is and see how their receivers are and the O-line is working and how the running backs are working and how the quarterbacks are playing and see how the team reacts to them."
Boyd has been urging Starkel to reunite with him in Fayetteville.
"Oh yeah, besides us playing phone tag on Facetime, we're talking everyday," Starkel said. "That's one of my good friends."
Starkel, who has also scheduled an official visit to Florida State on March 29, is encouraged by what he's hearing from Craddock.
"Coach Craddock is telling me it's a heck of a quarterback room because of the quality of guys that are in there, not just because of the on field ability, but who they are off the field," Starkel said. "That really interests me going into quarterback room that's not toxic and that's welcoming."
While Liberty Christian Coach Steven Greek didn't coach Starkel in high school, he was impressed with his talent while the offensive coordinator at Prestonwood Christian Academy prior to being hired at Liberty Christian last year in January.
Because of Starkel's success and reputation at Liberty Christian, Greek reached out to him to invite him to speak to the team and other students at the school.
"He's so quick to serve, so quick to give back," Greek said. "Nothing he does surprises any of us because he's just an outstanding young man of character and faith, so what he does on the field is never going to be surprising to us because that's who he is. He's a champion."
"It's not everyday that you see a kid in his early 20's that uses their free time to lead a bible study, that uses their free time to serve others, uses the free time to go to a Christian bible conference with other college kids, that goes on mission trips, but that's Nick Starkel."
Starkel has refrained from researching Arkansas and the campus on the internet.
"I just want to experience it in person for the first time rather than seeing photos," Starkel said. "I've asked everyone and they've said, 'Oh, it's so beautiful'."
Because of his faith, Starkel is looking forward to the next chapter of his life.
"I've learned that tough times help you grow the most," Starkel said. "I really enjoyed my time here at A&M. I loved every second of it. I feel like I'm being called to my next step."
Email Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports on 03/01/2019
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.