At the 2017 Belk Bowl, Texas A&M quarterback Nick Starkel put on a show for the ages. After being down 17 points before halftime, he rallied his Aggies and nearly beat Wake Forest, but they lost in a shootout, 55-52. Starkel set an A&M bowl record with 499 passing yards, completed 42 of 63 passes and tossed four touchdowns. Oh, and he was a redshirt freshman.
When head coach Jimbo Fisher took over in 2018, Starkel ultimately lost the starting job to Kellen Mond, who solidified his role by beating LSU in the highest-scoring game in college football history late in the season. With that resume to overcome, Starkel decided to transfer from the program, and now he’s found a new home.
Starkel announced in a tweet back in March that he’d be transferring from College Station to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks and head coach Chad Morris. The Argyle, Texas native graduated in May and was able to play immediately during the 2019 season with two years of eligibility remaining.
Now, Starkel didn’t walk into this program with a starting job waiting on him. Former SMU quarterback Ben Hicks joined Arkansas back in January, and he’s no slouch. The grad transfer left SMU with 33 starts under his belt and is the program’s career leader in passing yards, total offense, touchdown passes, completions and 300-yard games.
This job didn’t have an early front runner, but Starkel took hold of the starting role from Hicks mid-way through Arkansas’ loss to Ole Miss.
That’s why every single Texas A&M football fan should prepare for a trip to Arlington, Texas on September 28, 2019.
In a game dubbed as the Southwest Classic, Texas A&M has met Arkansas at AT&T Stadium every year for the last five seasons in a primetime SEC West showdown and will once again this year.
Yeah, it’s Kellen Mond vs. Nick Starkel in Jerry World.
“Since I signed my Letter of Intent, I have given my all to my teammates, coaches, and The 12th Man — From starting my first college football game under Coach Sumlin and his staff, to winning the Gator Bowl with Coach Fisher and his. I will receive my Aggie ring this April and will finish in June, the coursework required for graduation. I am forever thankful for all of the help I have received and I am blessed to have developed important relationships with my professors, mentors, coaches, teammates, and many others. I will always cherish my time at Texas A&M.Advertisement
I will be an Aggie for life!
I am also excited to play more football. I will explore finishing my final two years of eligibility at another program.
God bless & Gig ‘Em.”
— Nick Starkel, via TwitterAdvertisement
Last year’s quarterback competition between Mond and Starkel was scrutinized most of the season, and even reached a point where many believed Starkel should have replaced Mond as the Texas A&M Aggies’ starting quarterback. Mond, a high school All-American who accounted for 31 total touchdowns and over 3,500 yards of total offense in 2018, didn’t waiver after struggling last year, and Fisher wasn’t planning on making a QB change after his first season.
Starkel headed for Fayetteville to join an Arkansas program that went 2-10 in 2018, the program’s lowest win total in a season since 1952. But if Starkel beats his former team on a national stage, this would be a redemption story that’ll have every Aggie wondering if Jimbo Fisher really chose the right guy.
This post was originally published March 5, 2019.