COLLEGE STATION - When Nick Starkel left Texas A&M, he figured he'd be starting somewhere new. It might have taken longer than expected, but the graduate transfer will likely be calling the shots moving forward.
Arkansas head coach Chad Morris announced that Starkel would take over as Razorbacks' starting quarterback against Colorado State this Saturday. Ben Hicks, the graduate transfer from SMU, started the first two games under center.
Starkel replaced Hicks at halftime against Ole Miss over the weekend. Once in motion, the former Aggie would go 17 of 24 for 201 yards and a touchdown. Despite losing the to Rebels, Arkansas seemed stronger under Starkel's direction.
“You know we felt like coming out of half [against Ole Miss], it wasn’t so much what Ben did or didn’t do,” Morris said Monday. “It’s what Nick did. We were looking for a spark, something to get our offense moving, create some momentum, create some yards, give an opportunity for some big plays. That was our decision going into it and Nick will be our starter.”
Saturday will be the first start for Starkel since 2017 when he threw for a career-best 499-yards against Wake Forrest in the Belk Bowl. It will be his sixth career start and could lead to brighter times Fayetteville should he perform well.
The Razorbacks will head to AT&T Stadium for their yearly matchup against the Aggies in the Southwest Classic on October 4. Should Starkel continue to impress Morris and his staff, he will likely have a chance to start against his former team.
But for now, the job is not entirely his. Every slip up could lead to another chance for Hicks to regain the starting job. Morris did not confirm that Starkel would be the starter for the remainder of the season.
"I talked to Ben and just shared with him that it wasn’t, again…it’d be a whole lot easier for me to tell Ben that if he’s thrown three or four interceptions, and it wasn’t. It wasn’t so much what he did or didn’t do, it’s just what Nick did and provided that spark," Morris told reporters. "That was the message.”