For­mer SMU QB vis­it­ing Arkansas

The Sentinel-Record - - SPORTS - JAY BELL

For­mer SMU quar­ter­back Ben Hicks was on cam­pus at the Univer­sity of Arkansas in Fayetteville this week­end.

Hicks an­nounced in De­cem­ber he at­tended to trans­fer be­fore his fi­nal year of el­i­gi­bil­ity. He will be el­i­gi­ble to play im­me­di­ately as a grad­u­ate trans­fer.

The Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette’s Richard Daven­port con­firmed Hicks was in Fayetteville. Hicks was ex­pected to leave Fayetteville to­day.

Hicks and other play­ers are avail­able through the new NCAA trans­fer por­tal data­base, which was in­tro­duced on Oct. 15. The por­tal is a new mech­a­nism to give stu­dent-ath­letes more con­trol of the trans­fer process.

The NCAA in­tro­duced the por­tal and other new rules in the 2018-19 aca­demic year to of­fer stu­dent-ath­letes more flex­i­bil­ity. Play­ers such as for­mer Clem­son quar­ter­back Kelly Bryant and for­mer Arkansas re­ceiver Jonathan Nance took ad­van­tage of a rule that al­lows play­ers to red­shirt in sea­sons in which they play four games or less.

Pro­grams pre­vi­ously blocked play­ers from trans­fers or lim­ited their po­ten­tial trans­fer des­ti­na­tions. The process is now more con­trolled by the stu­dent-ath­letes, but pro­grams can now can­cel the schol­ar­ships of play­ers at the end of the se­mes­ter in which they de­clare their intent to trans­fer.

The trans­fer por­tal al­lows any coach to con­tact the stu­dent-ath­letes in the data­base. The mech­a­nism has be­come a fea­ture tool for a num­ber of high-profile quar­ter­backs as more and more teams build around one main starter.

Arkansas head coach Chad Mor­ris con­firmed this week ris­ing red­shirt se­nior Ty Storey, of Charleston, has de­clared his intent to trans­fer de­spite start­ing nine of 12 games this past sea­son. Storey threw for 1,584 yards with

11 touch­downs and 10 in­ter­cep­tions with a 57.2 com­ple­tion per­cent­age.

Storey be­came the team’s start­ing quar­ter­back af­ter three games and started eight of their last nine, miss­ing the team’s 23-0 home win against Tulsa due to a con­cus­sion he suf­fered in the pre­vi­ous game.

Bryant and Nance al­ready went through the por­tal and ended up at Mis­souri. Other quar­ter­backs to en­ter the por­tal in­clude for­mer Alabama starter Jalen Hurts, Ohio State’s Tate Martell and Ok­la­homa’s Austin Ken­dall.

Ris­ing red­shirt ju­nior Cole Kel­ley started the 2018 sea­son as the starter for Arkansas, but he was rel­e­gated to a backup role af­ter throw­ing for

185 yards, no touch­downs and four in­ter­cep­tions on 16-for-35 pass­ing in

a 44-17 home de­feat in Septem­ber against North Texas. He has since trans­ferred to play in his home state at South­east­ern Louisiana, where he will be able to play im­me­di­ately in the Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion.

Mor­ris was the head coach at SMU when Hicks joined the Mus­tangs. Arkansas of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Joe Crad­dock was at SMU from 2015-17 be­fore fol­low­ing Mor­ris to Fayetteville.

Hicks vis­ited Louisville on Fri­day and is re­port­edly also con­sid­er­ing Ge­or­gia Tech. The Mus­tangs were 7-5 in the reg­u­lar sea­son in 2017 un­der Mor­ris, but they fell one game short of bowl el­i­gi­bil­ity at 5-7 in 2018 for first-year head coach Sonny Dykes.

Mor­ris, Crad­dock and sev­eral fea­ture play­ers on of­fense helped Hicks throw for 3,569 yards and 33 touch­downs to 12 in­ter­cep­tions with a 58.5 com­ple­tion per­cent­age in 2017. His num­bers dropped to a com­ple­tion per­cent­age of 55.9, 2,582 yards, 19 touch­downs and seven in­ter­cep­tions last sea­son.

Arkansas quar­ter­backs com­pleted 54.6 per­cent of their passes in Mor­ris’ first sea­son. The team fin­ished with just 2,307 pass­ing yards and 17 pass­ing touch­downs against 18 in­ter­cep­tions.

The Ra­zor­backs have three quar­ter­backs on schol­ar­ship go­ing into spring work­outs. Daulton Hy­att, out of Etowah High School in Alabama, will be a red­shirt sopho­more.

Fresh­men Con­nor Noland, of Green­wood, and John Stephen Jones, out of High­land Park High School in Texas, were able to red­shirt this sea­son as Noland played in four games and Jones played in three. Noland started and was 10-for-16 pass­ing for 124 yards with a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion against Tulsa.

K.J. Jef­fer­son signed with Arkansas last month out of North Panola High School in Mis­sis­sippi. He is the team’s only quar­ter­back com­mit­ment in the Class of 2019.

Mor­ris’ son, Chan­dler, was re­cently named the Dal­las Morn­ing News’ Sport­sDay Of­fen­sive Player of the Year af­ter he quar­ter­backed High­land Park to a third straight Class 5A Di­vi­sion I state cham­pi­onship as a ju­nior with 4,036 pass­ing yards, 651 rush­ing yards and 66 to­tal touch­downs. He has been of­fered schol­ar­ships by Arkansas, Auburn, Clem­son, Ok­la­homa and SMU among oth­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.