By Otis Kirk
Former SMU quarterback Ben Hicks made a commitment to Arkansas on Monday for the 2019 season.
Hicks, who is a grad transfer with one season of eligibility remaining, committed to Chad Morris for the second time in his career. He will be in Fayetteville later today set to begin preparing for his senior season.
For Hicks, Morris and Joe Craddock, the offensive coordinator, were very familiar to him. After leading Waco (Texas) Midway to a 12-1 record in 2014, Hicks signed with SMU and Morris. That came after he had previously committed to Houston and Coach Tony Levine. However, when Levine left the Cougars hired Tom Herman and Hicks reopened his recruiting.
Hicks admitted it was hard to tell Herman no, but he explained to Waco Tribune-Herald’s Jason Orts why he chose Morris and the Mustangs.
“My family and I visited over the weekend, and it felt a lot like what I had in Houston with Coach Levine,” Hicks said. “It had the same family feel, and Coach Morris is a great coach with all he’s done here in Texas and at Clemson. It fit offensively, family-wise, and it’s close to home. It was a good fit, and I’m very happy with my decision.”
As a senior at Midway, Hicks threw for 3,510 yards with 28 touchdown passes, and he also added nine rushing touchdowns and was a first-team all-district pick.
Texas Tech and Kliff Kingsbury also offered him a scholarship after he decommitted from Houston.
“If I were basing my decision solely on playing in the Big 12, then I wouldn’t be making my decision in the right way,” Hicks said to Orts. “ I’m disappointed to not be playing in the Big 12, but there’s plenty of competition on the (American Athletic Conference), and I think we can win a lot of games.”
While leading Waco Midway to a 12-1 record as a senior the only loss came in the final game of his career in the playoffs when Spring took a 46-45 victory. Among the teams Hicks led Midway past that season were Highland Park 35-28, Lake Travis 38-30 and Duncanville 42-36.
At SMU, Hicks helped the Mustangs turn around a program that was in turmoil. In 37 games, Morris completed 718 of 1,266 passes for 9,081 yards, 71 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns.
In the two seasons under Morris and Craddock, Hicks completed 510 of 894 passes for 6,499 yards, 52 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. He rushed for three touchdowns.
SMU was 11-13 in the two years Hicks played for Morris. While that may not seem an impressive record, one has to consider the Mustangs were 3-21 the two previous seasons before Hicks took over as the starter in 2016.
In addition to SMU, Houston and Texas Tech, Hicks also had offers from Indiana, Southern Miss and Tulsa out of high school and strong interest from Utah and others.
Hicks was at Arkansas this past Saturday and Sunday for an official visit. He chose the Razorbacks over Louisville.