While former Texas A&M quarterback Nick Starkel made headlines this week as the newest graduate transfer to announce he will finish out his college career in a Razorback uniform, the first quarterback to make that decision this offseason recently started spring practice in Fayetteville.

Former SMU quarterback Ben Hicks is already on campus and working hard at earning the starting job in Fayetteville. So far so good according to his head coach.

“I’ve been very pleased with Ben. I think he’s brought great energy into that quarterback room as well as to our football team. He’s done everything that he is supposed to do as a grad transfer coming in, you know? You come in, you put your head down and you don’t say much and you earn respect of your teammates by working,” Morris said on Tuesday.

The thing that really stands out to Morris regarding the offseason addition of Hicks is how his fellow Razorbacks quarterbacks have embraced the senior QB to the team.

“What I’ve seen more about Ben, is not just him — how he relates and the players relating to him, but the quarterbacks, as well,” Morris continued. “He’s got a great rapport, I think that quarterback room has a great rapport with each other. They respect him, they know he’s played a lot of ball and man, I’ve been very pleased with him.

“For three days, he’s taking a lot of reps with ones, twos and threes — he’s taking all those types, it doesn’t matter. He’s not just taking first-team reps, he’s taking some second-team, some third-team and he is just bringing a lot of energy to that room and to the team. What’s impressive is when you watch him coach some of the other quarterbacks that are on the field as well. Again, seeing that, I think that’s been a tremendous attention to our quarterback room.”

With Ty Storey and Cole Kelley both gone from the program, the Razorbacks would have been entering the 2019 season with only one career start at quarterback on the roster, which came last season from freshman Connor Noland, before Hicks and Starkel made their decisions. Now many are expecting a heated battle for the starting role in the months to come but without a doubt, Hicks arriving early gives him a great head start in a competition that’s likely to rage on well into fall camp in Fayetteville.