SMU’s turbulent, on again, off again relationship with Ben Hicks is officially over. Hicks informed Sonny Dykes that he’s leaving the Hilltop and will play his senior season elsewhere as a grad transfer. Dykes made the news public via the Tweeter machine earlier today.
Hicks started for the better part of three seasons for SMU after Matt Davis went down with a knee injury in the 2016 season opener against North Texas. Hicks stock rose after a rough start to the 2016 season, and by the end of his redshirt freshman season, Hicks appeared capable of at least serviceable quarterback play.
In 2017, with three NFL caliber receivers at his disposal, Hicks threw for over 3,500 yards. This season he became SMU’s All-Time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. Usually, those accolades bring widespread love and affection from a fanbase, but for Hicks, during his tenure, he held a seemingly tenuous grasp on the starting job. In 2017 transfers Rafe Peavy and D.J. Gillins arrived intent on taking the position but never did.
SMU went to a bowl game in 2017, but three first-half turnovers, including two pick-sixes, doomed the Ponies chances in the Frisco Bowl against Louisiana Tech. This season, new challengers arrived to vie for the starting job, but Hicks again won out. He briefly gave way to true freshman William Brown, but by midseason, the job was Hicks’ again.
SMU came within a win of qualifying for a bowl game with an inexplicable first-half effort at Tulsa dooming the Mustang’s efforts. In three seasons SMU won seventeen games compared to twenty losses - not exactly setting the world on fire. When Hicks was good, he was one of the better quarterbacks in the American Athletic Conference. When he was bad, the ceiling was the floor.
Best of luck to Ben Hicks, perhaps a change of scenery is the best thing for everyone. Hopefully, he finishes his career on a high note.