By Otis Kirk
Former SMU quarterback Ben Hicks officially visited Arkansas on Saturday before leaving Sunday morning to return home.
The quarterback had breakfast with Chad Morris and Joe Craddock before leaving on Sunday. Following his leaving, Hicks talked about how his official visit to Arkansas went.
“I had a good time,” Hicks said. “I went to the basketball game yesterday and got to feel out the environment, had a good time, got to meet some people, got to meet the AD. I hadn’t seen Coach Morris and Coach Craddock in awhile so it was good to see those guys.”
Now that you have completed your Arkansas visit, what is next?
“I will fly back to Dallas and try to figure it out, talk to family and see what we are going to do from there” Hicks said.
Other than Arkansas, who is in the mix?
“I went to Louisville a couple of days ago so it is really Louisville and here,” Hicks said. “That is about it. Louisville was a good time. Coach (Scott) Satterfield, had a good time with them and got to sit down and talk with them. I really enjoyed it. I have enjoyed my weekend, a lot of flying, but I have enjoyed it.”
Hicks, 6-2, 225, is impressed that Arkansas is in the SEC. Coming out of Waco (Texas) Midway in the Class of 2015, Hicks has always admired the SEC.
“I dreamed about playing in the SEC since I was a little kid and it would be a cool deal to potentially have the opportunity to do that,” Hicks said. “We had some success at SMU with Coach Morris’ offense, a lot of success really and I feel like we can have the same success here so I am excited about it.”
At SMU, Hicks completed 718 of 1,266 passes for 9,081 yards, 71 touchdowns and 34 interceptions and rushed for three touchdowns in 37 games. He redshirted under Morris in 2015, but then played 24 games under Morris. His best season was in 2017 when he completed 276 of 472 passes for 3,569 yards, 33 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions.
While at Arkansas, Hicks got an idea of what the roster would look like for 2019.
“They signed three big-time receivers in this class and have the tight end C.J. (O’Grady),” Hicks said. “It’s the SEC so obviously they have some talent, it was just the first year or so. There is potential there.”
While at Arkansas, Hicks got to hang out with Craddock. He did meet some of the players too.
“I really didn’t have a host, but I met C.J., I met Trey (Knox) the freshman they came to the basketball game,” Hicks said. “And one of the JUCO offensive linemen was at the basketball game yesterday with us also. Everybody I met I enjoyed being around.”
In your opinion, what are the pros of coming to Arkansas?
“Just knowing the staff, knowing the offense,” Hicks said. “Like I said, I have dreamed about playing in the SEC. Playing in this league. They had some talent there this year and just couldn’t get it done all the time, but there’s obviously talent there particularly on offense.”
Do you think this coaching staff can help you get to the next level?
“Yeah, that’s kinda the hope,” Hicks said. “I think playing in this league will give you an opportunity to play at the next level because of all the talent in this league. That’s part of the process too.”
Is there a certain time you have to enroll by?
“I want to be here in the spring so I think school starts tomorrow,” Hicks said. “So if I decide to come here I will be here within the week.”
You have seen some grad transfers, Washington State and LSU had one, and had success. Does that mean anything to you?
“Yeah, you said Washington State, I played Gardner Minshew at East Carolina a few years ago,” Hicks said. “He had great success. I knew it was time to go to leave SMU. I would say those guys success had an influence on the decision, but I’m just looking for a new opportunity and growth. I’m excited.”
SMU beat Minshew and East Carolina 55-31 on Nov.12, 2016. In that game as a redshirt freshman, Hicks completed 18 of 30 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns while taking the road win in Greenville, N.C.
Upon announcing on Dec. 12 he was leaving SMU, his offensive coordinator there for 2018 was Rhett Lashlee, who played his high school football at Shiloh Christian. Lashlee showed his appreciation for Hicks on Twitter.
It was an honor to get to coach you this year @8Hicks ! Thanks for all you’ve done for SMU football, this team and this University. I can’t wait to see all the success that is ahead of you! Proud of you! pic.twitter.com/KeTgCXtTqk— Rhett Lashlee (@rhettlashlee) December 12, 2018
In 2018, Hicks completed 208 of 372 passes for 2,582 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
He will have one season of eligibility remaining.