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QB Ben Hicks transferring from SMU

SMU starting quarterback Ben Hicks, the school's all-time leading passer, has left the program and will be a graduate transfer for 2019.

Hicks, who started the past three seasons for the Mustangs, told coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee of his intentions earlier this week, according to 247 Sports. Dykes tweeted his appreciation for Hicks' contributions on Wednesday afternoon.

Hicks departs as SMU's career leader in passing yards (9,081 yards), passing touchdowns (71), total offense (8,977 yards), completions (718) and touchdowns responsive for (74), starting 33 games for the Mustangs. Hicks had his best year in 2017, passing for 3,569 yards and 33 touchdowns. He briefly lost the starting job to freshman William Brown this season, and SMU will hold an open quarterback competition in the spring.

"Looking for a new opportunity, new growth. Just a chance to really start fresh in my last year and move forward with the rest of my life, whether that be football or whether that be finding out where I'm at," Hicks told 247 Sports. "The decision was obviously very difficult because I've been extremely fortunate to play a lot of football here and meet great friends. I've always had a great support staff so the decision was very difficult. You got to make some tough decisions sometimes and this was one I felt like I needed to make."

Hicks, a native of Waco, Texas, will have one year of eligibility left.