Chad Morris explains unique decision to bring in two graduate transfer quarterbacks this offseason
We are truly living in the transfer age of college football. If you need proof of that, you don’t need to look much further than Fayetteville, where Chad Morris and his Razorback staff have completely turned over the Arkansas quarterback room in a matter of weeks.
Gone are Ty Storey and Cole Kelley, both via transfer, with Ben Hicks in and Nick Starkel soon on the way, both via transfer.
During his most recent media availability, Morris shared why Arkansas fans shouldn’t be surprised to see the Razorback program add two experienced and talented quarterbacks in the same offseason. According to Morris, his program will always be on the hunt when there’s a possibility of adding arm talent to the roster.
“As I’ve shared all along, we are always in the quarterback market. It doesn’t matter, we are always in that market,” Morris said on Tuesday. “It’s my job to make sure everyone, not just the quarterback room, can continue to improve. So that’s on me. And to make sure that we have competition in all areas, our coaches understand that. Rising tides rise all boats and so what I think you are seeing is the competition level, in all rooms, and especially the quarterback room — adding Nick in there, will be a huge addition for us as well. So I’m excited about that, excited about the competition it brings in that room.”
With those two additions, Arkansas goes from one of the biggest question marks in the league at the quarterback position to one of the most experienced when you consider Hick and Starkel have started several games dating back to the 2016 college football season — Hicks at SMU and Starkel at Texas A&M.
Hicks is already on campus competing in spring practice, and apparently impressing Morris while doing so, while Starkel is expected to arrive in the summer following the end of his academic career in College Station. Hicks may have the advantage of being on campus early but once Starkel dons the Razorback uniform, Arkansas fans may realize the former Aggie has the best arm on the team.
“He has got an extremely strong arm, that’s one of the things that stands out,” Morris said of Starkel. “Good size but a good, strong arm and obviously we know he’s played in this league. I think everybody that has been around him just talks about the quality of the person he is and so again, as you bring guys into your program, you want to bring the right fit into your program. I think that brings great competition in that room, and again, we are trying to improve everywhere.”
Now the Razorbacks appear to have a tough decision to make in the coming weeks and months. The team could not overcome a quarterback competition that raged well into the season last fall and allowing this battle to linger could prove to be a big mistake for Morris. While having two capable quarterbacks on the roster may present a unique challenge for the Razorbacks, it’s a far better option than having none — which it appeared was the reality on The Hill in 2018.