Mallett, who grew up a Razorback, will be starter-in-waiting

Updated: January 17, 2008, 9:00 PM ET
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Bobby Petrino has already landed a major recruit for Arkansas -- former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Mallett has transferred to Arkansas and will have three years of eligibility after sitting out the 2008 season. The 6-foot-7 freshman played in 11 games for the Wolverines before leaving after Rich Rodriguez replaced retiring coach Lloyd Carr.

[+] EnlargeRyan Mallett
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIREFormer Michigan QB Ryan Mallett will have to sit out the 2008 season under NCAA transfer rules after enrolling at Arkansas.

Although he went to high school on the Texas side of Texarkana, Mallett lived on the Arkansas side. Now he returns to his home state.

"He's happy to be there," Jim Mallett said 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 Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt last month, and he faces a rebuilding project now that star tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones have decided to skip their senior seasons and go to the NFL.

Mallett figures to provide a boost 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."

When Mallett was coming out of high school, Arkansas already had quarterback Mitch Mustain, who signed with the Razorbacks in 2006. Mustain transferred to Southern California after one year at Arkansas, leaving Casey Dick as the Razorbacks' starter this past season. Dick will be a senior next season.

Jim Mallett said his son considered Tennessee, Texas A&M and UCLA, but after visiting Arkansas, Ryan Mallett 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."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press