Update: Arkansas has officially appointed former SMU coach Chad Morris as his new coach. The school made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, and Morris will be formally presented on Thursday.
"The future is tremendously bright at the University of Arkansas with the addition of Chad Morris, I'm sure Chad will bring a great variety of football, great athletes and student championships to Fayetteville, and he will do so with integrity." said new athletic director Hunter Yurachek, who was also introduced on Wednesday. "We all owe a debt of gratitude to the incredible work of Julie Cromer Peoples in leading a comprehensive search and helping to bring a high caliber trainer to Arkansas."
Morris accepted a six-year contract and will earn $ 3.5 million annually. That puts him in the in the middle of the group among the SEC coaches.
One day after the news emerged that SMU coach Chad Morris had become the main target in the Arkansas coaching search, it seems that the deal is done. Morris agreed to become the new coach of the Razorbacks, according to ESPN and Associated Press . ESPN reports that the agreement is in the $ 4 million range with the AP that adds that the deal is for six years.
Morris is expected to be presented on Thursday, by 247Sports. Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated reports that Morris has informed the players of SMU that he is leaving.
Morris is 14-22 in three seasons at SMU, but posted a 7-5 record this season and earned a place in the Frisco Bowl against Louisiana Tech. He had a 2-10 record in his first season. with a program that won only one in the previous season and improved to 5-7 in 2016. The bowl this year is the first since a victory at the 2012 Hawaii Bowl over Fresno State.
The sources tell CBS Sports that the influential people in the world of college football and within the SEC who consulted with Arkansas – a program that did not have a sports director until Hunter Yurachek was hired on Monday – recommended almost universally to Morris for work because of his integrity, Texas ties and the ability to consistently produce high level offenses.
The high school coaching fraternity of Texas is one of the most united groups at any level in football and Morris is still highly respected among that group.
Prior to SMU, Morris was Clemson's offensive coordinator from 2011-14, helping to lay the groundwork for his dynamic offense. He played a decisive role in the recruitment of former Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson. Morris made the leap to college after an ultra successful career as a high school coach at Lake Travis High School and Stephenville High School, among others.
One name to watch in Arkansas is Clemson's defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, who may well join Morris with the Hogs, since Morris and Venables remain close to their time at Clemson.