Quarterback issues helped doom Chad Morris at Arkansas

Woody Wommack, Recruiting Analyst
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When Arkansas hired Chad Morris to take over the program in late 2017, the Razorbacks thought they were getting the next great quarterback guru as their head coach. After all, Morris had helped recruit and develop Deshaun Watson at Clemson and he took SMU from one of the worst teams in all of FBS to a bowl game behind the play of quarterback Ben Hicks. But during his short time in Fayetteville, Morris could never settle on a quarterback and it was part of his undoing. Today, we take a look at many names Morris tried at the position.

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FROM HAWGBEAT.COM: Arkansas fires Chad Morris after less than two seasons

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

As a recruit: A three-star in the Class of 2016, Kelley was recruited by Morris’ predecessor Bret Bielema and chose the Razorbacks over Kentucky, Oklahoma State and others.

Under Morris: Kelley actually started the season-opener for Arkansas in 2018, but his time as the main main under center didn’t last long. He was pulled in his first game in favor of Ty Storey, which started a yo-yo between the two quarterbacks of various parts of the rest of the season. Kelley finished with 455 yards passing and five touchdowns and five interceptions while completing just 52 percent of his passes. All of those numbers were down significantly over his lone season under Bielema, when he completed 57 percent of his passes four eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

After Morris: Kelley elected to transfer following the 2018 season and landed at FCS program Southeastern Louisiana. Kelley’s playing time has increased as the 2019 as gone along and he led the team to an upset victory over top-10 FCS program Central Arkansas in early November, throwing for 273 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 39 yards and four scores.

As a recruit: Another holdover from the Bielema era, Storey was a huge recruiting win at the time as the Rivals250 prospect chose to stay in-state and chose the Hogs over Alabama, Auburn and others.

Under Morris: Despite not winning the job to start the season, Storey actually saw quite a bit of playing time in 2018. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to much success for the Razorbacks. Storey went 0-9 as a starter under Morris and finished the season with 1,584 yards passing and 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. After the Razorbacks openly courted graduate transfers, Storey elected to leave the program as a graduate transfer himself.

After Morris: Storey landed at Western Kentucky where he started the season as a backup, but an injury to starter Steven Duncan opened the door for Storey to take over the starting job. He hasn’t disappointed and got his revenge on Morris and Arkansas, throwing for 213 yards and a touchdown in a blowout WKU victory over the Razorbacks on Nov. 9.

As a recruit: Noland committed to Bielema in 2016 and stuck by his commitment after Morris was hired. He initially chose the Razorbacks over offers from Kentucky, Ole Miss and several others.

Under Morris: After seeing mop-up duty in this school’s upset loss to North Texas, Noland had to wait his turn to see the field again during his freshman season, finally getting a shot to start in the program's homecoming game against Tulsa. Noland helped lead the Razorbacks to a victory in what would turn out to be the most prolific game of his career as he threw for 124 yards with one touchdown and one interception while also rushing for 20 yards. Despite guiding the school to a win, he saw limited action the rest of the year and finished the season with 255 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.

After Morris: Noland elected to leave the football program prior to the 2019 season to focus solely on baseball, where he is a member of the Razorbacks program.

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