Former Texas A&M quarterback Nick Starkel will remain a familiar face to the 12th Man.
Starkel will transfer to Southeastern Conference West rival Arkansas, making the announcement via a social media post Monday. Starkel opened the 2017 season as A&M's starter but last season was beat out by Kellen Mond.
“I am excited to announce: I will continue pursuing my dream to play football for the next two years at the University of Arkansas,” Starkel said. “To Coach [Chad] Morris and his staff: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play football and obtain my graduate degree.”
The story continues in Fayetteville, Arkansas... pic.twitter.com/bO7TOXHaW6— Nicholas Starkel (@NickStarkel) March 5, 2019
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound redshirt junior announced on Jan. 22 he’d transfer after learning he could earn his Aggie ring and graduate this spring, allowing him to be eligible immediately wherever he went as a graduate transfer.
“I kind of knew my situation here was not the best situation for me if I was looking to play the final two years because Kellen and I have the same eligibility left,” Starkel told The Eagle after his transfer announcement.
Starkel will join a crowded battle in Fayetteville that includes another graduate transfer in Ben Hicks, who played for Morris at SMU. Hicks left The Hilltop as the Mustangs’ most decorated passer, holding six career passing records, including most passing yards and touchdown passes.
Behind the front-runners is John Stephen Jones, grandson of Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, a former Class 5A player of the year and two-time state champion at Highland Park High School. Jones took a redshirt last season. Sophomore Daulton Hyatt and redshirt freshman Connor Noland also are in the mix after competing for the starting job last season.
Starkel was named the Aggie starter for the 2017 season by former head coach Kevin Sumlin, but Starkel suffered a leg injury that kept him sidelined until A&M’s 35-14 loss to Mississippi State on Oct. 28, 2017. He threw for 1,793 yards and 14 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman, making five starts.
Last season, first-year coach Jimbo Fisher went with true sophomore Mond, who started every game, throwing for 3,107 yards and 24 touchdowns. Starkel appeared in five games, completing 15 of 22 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
Thank you Aggieland 👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/7CRUy2YxkU— Nicholas Starkel (@NickStarkel) January 23, 2019
Initially, Starkel told The Eagle he was interested in Duke, Ohio State, SMU and Arizona. Starkel said on “The Justin Dunning Podcast” that he had initially decided on SMU, but reassessed things after former Texas quarterback Shane Buechele announced his intention to transfer to the Mustangs.
Starkel was in Fayetteville over the weekend, posting pictures on his social media accounts with former A&M running back and Arkansas transfer Rakeem Boyd. According to 247Sports.com reports, Starkel had set up a visit to Florida State later this month.
The pro-style quarterback also rejoins former A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis, who enters his second season at Arkansas in the same role.
Starkel told The Eagle in January that he plans on earning his master’s degree in a year and a half so he can spend his second spring preparing for the NFL Draft. Starkel said after his football career he plans to coach at the high school level in Texas.
“I know, for a fact, that I’m better for that, for having to go through this, and I’ve grown a lot in that sense,” Starkel told The Eagle in January. “I’ve made a lot of great life-long friends and mentors with this coaching staff. Definitely did not leave a sour taste in my mouth. I love [A&M’s] coaches, and I know they’ll love me and they’ll keep fighting for me in everything I do, and hopefully one day they will hire me.”