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Ryan Mallett, who quarterbacked the University of Arkansas to a pair of bowl games and played five seasons in the NFL, died Tuesday after drowning at a Florida beach, according to multiple reports. He was 35.

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Mallett died near the Panhandle city of Destin, Florida, the Deltaplex News in Arkansas reported. Mallett’s death was also confirmed to KHTV by Skip Carr, the assistant principal at White Hall High School in Arkansas, where Mallett served as head football coach.

“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” the White Hall School District said in a statement. “Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches, and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”

According to officials with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, responders were called to a beach in Destin just after 2 p.m. CDT about an apparent drowning of a tourist, who was later identified as Mallett, KARK-TV reported.

Lifesaving measures were immediately administered but Mallett was pronounced dead at an area hospital, according to the television station.

Mallett began his college career at Michigan before transferring to Arkansas, ESPN reported. As a redshirt sophomore in 2009, he led the Razorbacks to an 8-5 record and a victory in the Liberty Bowl, according to He was named the game’s offensive MVP, ESPN reported.

In 2010, Mallett passed for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns and finished seventh in voting for the Heisman Trophy, according to

“We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Ryan Mallett,” the University of Arkansas said in a statement. “He was a Razorback legend with larger-than-life talent and a personality to match. He led our program to some of our best moments in recent memory. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Debbie and his extended family.”

Mallett was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, KHTV reported. He played one season for New England and then spent parts of two seasons with the Houston Texans. He then played 37 games for the Baltimore Ravens, according to

He finished his pro career with 1,835 passing yards and nine touchdowns.

“Horrible news to read about Ryan Mallett. Gone way too soon. Rest in Peace brother,” J.J. Watt, who was a teammate of Mallett in tweeted on Tuesday.

Mallett began coaching at the prep level after his NFL career, first as an assistant at Mountain Home High School in northern Arkansas, Sports Illustrated reported. In 2022, he was named head coach at White Hall High School, according to the magazine.