Arkansas' football roster got a lot lighter Monday.
Four players, including backup quarterback Brandon Mitchell, have decided to transfer, new coach Bret Bielema announced Monday. Defensive end Austin Flynn, safety Defonta Lowe and running back Keante Minor completed the quartet of Razorbacks transfers.
Here's what Bielema said in a statement released through the school:
"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. 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.”
Neither Flynn nor Lowe went through spring practice, and Minor spent most of the 2012 season on special teams. But the loss of Mitchell is significant. That leaves the Hogs with even less experience at a position that saw its star (Tyler Wilson) graduate. Mitchell, who lost out to redshirt sophomore Brandon Allen for the starting spot this spring, played wide receiver last year, but was Wilson's backup in 2011. He saw limited action, but threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Mitchell never really seemed comfortable in offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's offense and had an issue with turnovers during the latter part of spring practice. Allen earned the starting spot with his play this spring and it forced Bielema to consider moving Mitchell back to receiver.
Clearly, it wasn't something Mitchell was interested in.
Having Mitchell on the field would have been nice for the Hogs. His 6-foot-4, 239-pound frame and athleticism would have made him a decent option in the passing game. He also could have had a chance in some possible Wildcat formations.
Now, keeping Allen healthy becomes a major priority. He doesn't have to worry about looking over his shoulder any longer, but he has to make sure he continues to develop this fall because this is now officially his team.