FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas receiver Mekale McKay is transferring to Cincinnati.

McKay, who was not with the team when preseason camp began last Monday, was officially released from his scholarship after researching options.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said the Louisville native was heading to his new school Sunday. The Bearcats are preparing for their first season under former Auburn and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

"I called the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati," Bielema said. "Eddie Gran is a great friend of mine and someone I think the world of. We talked about Mekale and what he could bring.”

McKay would have been Arkansas' leading returning receiver after catching 21 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman in 2012. But Bielema indicated this week the receiver expressed concerns about playing in Arkansas' new offense. So Bielema said he helped McKay find a place to transfer.

“I've had many great conversations with Mekale, but the last three probably meant more to me as a coach than anything else,” Bielema said about the discussions the two have had in the past week. “Just to know that he was being honest, I was being honest. I'm very, very excited."

McKay must sit out the 2013 season if he’s not granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA and would have three years remaining.

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau