Transferring SMU QB familiar with Arkansas staff

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2018
SMU quarterback Ben Hicks (8) throws a pass in front of Central Florida defensive lineman Joey Connors (91) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
SMU quarterback Ben Hicks (8) throws a pass in front of Central Florida defensive lineman Joey Connors (91) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

— A quarterback who has thrown for more than 9,000 yards, 70 touchdowns and is very familiar with the Arkansas football coaching staff put his name in the NCAA’s graduate transfer portal on Wednesday.

SMU quarterback Ben Hicks (6-2, 220 pounds), the Mustangs’ career leader in passing yards, total offense, passing touchdowns, career touchdowns responsible for and completions, announced that he would be transferring.

Hicks, a redshirt junior with one year of eligibility remaining, was a three-year starter for SMU with the first two years being under current Razorbacks coach Chad Morris.

“Looking for a new opportunity, new growth,” Hicks told SMU’s 24/7 website. “Just a chance to really start fresh in my last year and move forward with the rest of my life, whether that be football or whether that be finding out where I’m at.

“The decision was obviously very difficult because I’ve been extremely fortunate to play a lot of football here and meet great friends. I’ve always had a great support staff, so the decision was very difficult. You got to make some tough decisions sometimes and this was one I felt like I needed to make.”

One would expect Arkansas and Hicks to have some interest in one another considering their familiarity.

Hicks had his best season in 2017, throwing for 3,569 yards, 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions when he had current NFL wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn in the fold.

He would be an older, experienced quarterback that has run the system before at a high level with obvious productivity.

The career passing yards (9,081) and passing touchdowns (71) are good numbers, but he also threw 34 interceptions and completed just over 56 percent of his passes.

There are seven other quarterbacks officially in the NCAA transfer portal, which was implemented on Oct. 15 as a way to ease the process for players and coaches.

Among those are Kansas State’s Alex Delton (6-0, 205) Coastal Carolina’s Chance Thrasher (6-2, 220), Colorado State’s J.C. Robles (6-5, 215), Rice’s Jackson Tyner (6-5, 251), Ball State’s Riley Neal (6-6, 225), Florida Atlantic and former East Mississippi State signal caller De’Andre Johnson (6-2, 205) and Charleston Southern’s London Johnson (6-0, 190).

The group has had varying degrees of success with Neal having the most productivity, passing for more than 7,000 yards and 45 touchdowns while starting 32 games.

Oklahoma State's John Kolar has announced he will transfer to Iowa State.

There is speculation some other well-known names might join in the grad transfer market soon such as Arizona’s Khalil Tate (6-2, 215) and Texas’ Shane Buchele (6-1, 210).

Highly-touted Grant Gunnell (6-6, 222), who has some Razorback ties, is set to sign with Arizona while Sam Ehlinger has taken over for Buechele at Texas.

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