Ryan Mallett, a former quarterback for Arkansas, tragically died away on Tuesday at the age of 35. Mallett was found dead on a beach near Destin, Florida, from what seems to be a drowning, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
The event happened when a group of swimmers had trouble getting back to shore from the Gulf of Mexico after swimming along a sandbar. After Mallett was discovered unconscious, he was taken to the hospital, where he was later declared dead.
Remembering a Beloved Coach and Educator
The White Hall, Arkansas, school system, where Mallett coached high school football, was impacted hard by his premature death. In a touching letter on its website, the district expressed its deep sorrow, referring to Mallett as “Coach Ryan Mallett.” His loved ones, players, and coaches in the White Hall School District were all included in the prayer chain.
College Football Career Highlights
Ryan Mallett started his football career at Michigan but transferred to Arkansas after only one season. Over the course of his two years as a Razorback, he threw for 7,493 yards and 62 touchdowns, demonstrating great potential.
In 2009, Mallett earned Offensive MVP honors after guiding the Razorbacks to an 8-5 record and a win in the Liberty Bowl under the tutelage of head coach Bobby Petrino.
In 2010, Mallett had his best season as a passer, accumulating 3,869 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while completing 64.7% of his passes. As a result of his excellent play, he was placed on the All-SEC second team for the second year in a row and ultimately finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
Tributes from the Football Community
Many in the football community reacted with shock and grief to the news of Mallett’s death. The Razorbacks’ official Twitter account released a message lamenting the passing of an icon, paying tribute to Mallett and his outsized skill and charm.
They expressed their sorrow to Debbie, his mother, and the rest of his family, and spoke of the positive influence he had on the show.
Head coach of the New England Patriots and the man responsible for selecting quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft, Bill Belichick, expressed his sadness at the news.
Belichick sent his sympathies to Mallett’s family and the numerous others whose lives he impacted while speaking highly of Mallett’s ability and winning track record, both in high school and college.
Tom Brady, one of Mallett’s former teammates, rushed to social media to share his sadness, calling his former comrade a “great man” and offering his gratitude.
NFL Career and Legacy
Mallett played professional football as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots, but he didn’t get many snaps since Brady was so durable. After that, he signed with the Houston Texans in 2014 and spent two years there, during which time he started six games.
After being cut by the Texans in 2015, Mallett signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he made two starts in eight games until finally being released in 2017.
Mallett completed 190 of 345 pass attempts for 1,835 yards, nine touchdowns, and ten interceptions during his 21 games played and eight starts in the National Football League.
A Promising Coaching Career Cut Short
Mallett followed his heart after retiring from the NFL and became an assistant coach at Mountain Home High School in Arkansas. White Hall High School, where he had previously played football, hired him as head coach in 2022.
Mallett said he’d always wanted to be a coach and was thrilled by the prospect of passing on his knowledge of the game and inspiring young people.
The football world is in mourning the passing of Ryan Mallett, who will be remembered as a talented player, devoted coach, and inspirational leader.
His passion for the game and dedication to his teammates will be remembered fondly. As they mourn, his loved ones may find comfort in the legacy he left behind and the good he did for others.