Ryan Mallett announces he will enter the NFL draft

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett announced Thursday evening that he will forgo his senior season at Arkansas, and will enter the 2011 NFL Draft.

Mallett started all 26 games in two seasons as a Razorback, and completed an Arkansas single-season-record 266 passes on a school-record 411 attempts for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2010. His 3,869 passing yards are the third-highest single-season total in SEC history

According to HawgSports.com, Mallett is just three credit hours away from receiving his degree at the University of Arkansas, and that he’ll complete the final class needed to graduate online.

Here’s Mallett’s full statement:

After careful consideration, I have decided to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft. Ever since I was a kid, my dream has always been to play for the Razorbacks and I am thankful I had the opportunity to do so. A year ago, when I returned to school I said I wanted to help lead this team to a place among the nation’s elite and for the Razorback community to have a mindset to expect greatness. There is no doubt we got there together and this program will continue to play games on the biggest stages and when it does we’ll come out swinging. Playing in the NFL is a goal of mine and I am grateful to the people that have prepared me to take the next step. Coach (Bobby) Petrino is a winner, a man of character and the hardest worker I have ever seen. I’d also like to thank Coach (Garrick) McGee for everything he has done for me and in particular helping develop my mental approach to the game. The leadership of Chancellor David Gearhart and Director of Athletics Jeff Long is a model for me and I am extremely appreciative of the tireless work they do for all University of Arkansas students every day. The Razorback fans are the greatest in the country and their support for me and the team throughout my career has been humbling. Arkansas is where my heart is and I’m proud to say that I will always be a Razorback.

And here’s what Coach Petrino had to say:

I am very proud of Ryan Mallett and I can’t say enough about what he has done for this program. Leaders do their job extremely well and lift everyone around them to compete better and Ryan does those things. One of the greatest parts about coaching is watching individuals become adults while they are in college and Ryan has certainly developed not just as a player, but as a person. I know Ryan will be successful in life and I wish him the best in the NFL.

And just like that, the Tyler Wilson era of Arkansas football begins.