Head Coach Bret Bielema has not wasted any time in putting his signature on the Arkansas Razorbacks from the first day he accepted the job. The cleaning of what was the Bobby Petrino lair continued today as Bielema granted releases to four players including the talented Brandon Mitchell.
“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,” Bielema said in a release today. “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.”
This comes as a surprise to many who believed Mitchell was the No. 1 option to start heading into spring practice for Arkansas. Despite that assumption, Bielema named Brandon Allen the starter based on his performance in the spring, his game experience in the SEC and the fact that he had picked up the new offense of Jim Chaney.
It is interesting that Mitchell was unwilling to move to receiver after Allen was named the starter. The Razorbacks could have benefited greatly from his athletic ability and his 6-4, 239 pound NFL frame. It is even more interesting that Bielema wasn’t willing to mess around with Mitchell any longer and granted him the release.
There is no doubt a program will come calling soon for Mitchell’s services. At that point everyone will be able to see just how capable he is of leading a team or if it’s more about the Mitchell show. Right now this guy is betting on the latter.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.