Arkansas Razorbacks Must Decide on Starting Quarterback

By Tim Letcher
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

During the offseason, much of the talk surrounding the Arkansas Razorbacks has been about the comments of its head coach, Bret Bielema, who has put his foot in his mouth at least once since the season ended.

However, Bielema has another issue that must be resolved. The Razorbacks have a wide open quarterback competition this spring, with as many as five players vying for the position.

Last season’s primary starter, Brandon Allen, returns and would seemingly be the frontrunner at this point. In 2013, Allen passed for 1,552 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also suffered a shoulder injury early in the season that limited what he was able to do in the final nine games, which were all Arkansas losses.

The backup quarterback in 2013 was A.J. Derby, who played in seven games, passing for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Derby is in the running for the starting job, although his chances seem slim.

Redshirt freshman Damon Mitchell is in the competition as well. However, there are two more candidates that make this competition intriguing.

One is Austin Allen, Brandon’s brother. Austin Allen was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Arkansas as a senior. It has to be tough competing against one’s own brother, but that’s exactly the position that the Allens find themselves in during spring drills

The other interesting prospect is Rafe Peavey, who enrolled early and is participating in spring practice. Peavey was one of the nation’s Top 10 quarterbacks last season as a high school senior, and he is likely the future quarterback for the Razorbacks. If Bielema made the move to start Peavey, it would be a bold choice, given the tough defenses in the Southeastern Conference.

Bielema and his staff have a tough decision ahead of them, one that could affect the immediate future of the program.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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