Arkansas reaches six-year deal with SMU coach Chad Morris

Update: Arkansas has officially named former SMU coach Chad Morris its new coach. The school made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, and Morris will be formally introduced Thursday. 

"The future is tremendously bright at the University of Arkansas with the addition of Chad Morris. I am confident that Chad will bring an exciting brand of football, phenomenal student-athletes and championships to Fayetteville, and do it all with high integrity," said new athletic director Hunter Yurachek, who was also introduced 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 coach to Arkansas."

Morris has agreed to a six-year contract and will make $3.5 million annually. That puts him in the middle of the pack among SEC coaches. 

Original story

One day after word emerged that SMU coach Chad Morris had become the top target in Arkansas' coaching search, it appears as if the deal is now done. Morris has agreed to become the new coach of the Razorbacks, according to ESPN and the Associated Press. ESPN reports the deal is in the $4 million range with the AP adding that the deal is for six years. 

Morris is expected to be introduced on Thursday, per 247Sports. Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated reports that Morris has informed SMU players that he is leaving. 

Morris is 14-22 in three seasons at SMU but posted a 7-5 record this season and earned a berth in the Frisco Bowl against Louisiana Tech. He went 2-10 in his first season with a program that had won just one in the previous season and improved to 5-7 in 2016. The bowl berth this year is the first since a 2012 Hawaii Bowl win over Fresno State. 

Sources tell CBS Sports that influential people in the college football world and within the SEC who consulted with Arkansas -- a program that didn't have an athletic director until Hunter Yurachek was hired on Monday -- almost universally recommended Morris for the job due to his integrity, Texas ties and ability to consistently produce top-tier offenses.

The Texas high school coaching fraternity is one of the most tight-knit groups at any level in football and Morris remains highly respected among that group. 

Prior to SMU, Morris was Clemson's offensive coordinator from 2011-14, helping lay the groundwork for its dynamic offense. He was instrumental in the recruitment of former star Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson. Morris made the jump 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 for at Arkansas is Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who may well join Morris with the Hogs as Morris and Venables remain close from their time at Clemson.  

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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