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Star Quarterback Mallett: Larger-Than-Life Presence

FAYETTEVILLE – The quarterback who returned to Arkansas to elevate his home-state Razorbacks to new levels crafted a larger-than-life persona through a string of achievements before his untimely passing last summer.

Ryan Michael Mallett, hailing from Batesville, possessed a remarkable 6-6 stature and an extraordinary arm talent. Under the guidance of the offensive mastermind Coach Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks achieved an 18-8 record during his two-year tenure as the starting quarterback. This successful run culminated in a Sugar Bowl appearance following the 2010 season, marking the program’s sole Bowl Championship Series participation.

Mallett, who tragically passed away at the age of 35 due to a swimming accident in the Gulf of Mexico, will posthumously be honored with induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. His mother, Debbie, is set to deliver the acceptance speech on his behalf.

His physical attributes set him apart in the realm of Arkansas football.

“Different from anything I’ve ever seen, especially his arm strength,” remarked DJ Williams, the former Razorbacks’ tight end standout and current media personality in Little Rock.

Following his professional playing career, Mallett transitioned into coaching and was on the brink of his second season as the head coach at White Hall High School before his passing.

Mallett etched his name in the annals of UA athletics with several iconic plays, including a memorable game-changing performance against LSU in 2010.

One such instance was a remarkable 80-yard touchdown pass to Cobi Hamilton just before halftime in the showdown against LSU. Additionally, his clutch 39-yard touchdown throw to Joe Adams on a critical fourth down solidified the victory over LSU, showcasing Mallett’s prowess and securing a place for Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

Petrino, now serving as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas, fondly remembers Mallett’s impact on the program. “He changed our program here, I thought,” Petrino reflected, emphasizing Mallett’s instrumental role in Arkansas football’s resurgence.

Mallett’s journey to Arkansas was a testament to his unwavering determination and loyalty to his home state. Despite initial detours, including a stint at Michigan, Mallett eventually found his way back to Arkansas, fulfilling his dream of representing the Razorbacks on the field.

Mallett’s tenure at Arkansas was marked by record-breaking performances and significant victories, solidifying his legacy as a football legend in the state. His leadership and on-field achievements not only elevated the Razorbacks’ standing but also endeared him to fans and teammates alike.

His larger-than-life personality, coupled with his exceptional talent, left an indelible mark on Arkansas football, ensuring that his legacy endures beyond his untimely departure. Ryan Michael Mallett’s impact on the sport and the community remains a poignant reminder of his lasting influence.