Jason Ivester

Analysis: ex-Arkansas QB Rafe Peavey transfers to SMU

PonyStampede breaks down former Arkansas QB Rafe Peavey's decision to transfer to SMU.

SMU has found the veteran quarterback it was searching for this summer.

The Mustangs picked up Arkansas transfer Rafe Peavey, sources told PonyStampede Tuesday night. Peavey announced the move shortly after. Sources also said that Peavey signed his scholarship papers on Tuesday.


A Bolivar, Mo. native, Peavey will have two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017. He will sit out 2016, according to NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-1, 203-pound Peavey was a three-star prospect and Scout’s 25th-ranked quarterback in 2014. He picked the Razorbacks in 2012 and stuck with them through a coaching change. He also held offers from Arizona, Baylor, Iowa, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, UCLA and USC, among others.


After redshirting in 2014, Peavey did not play in a game in 2015. Arkansas named Austin Allen its starter in the spring, wrapping up the quarterback battle early. In fall camp, Peavey had reportedly fallen behind redshirt freshmen Ty Storey and Ricky Town, and true freshman Cole Kelley. He did not play at all in a team scrimmage on Saturday. 

What Peavey’s addition means

SMU wanted to pair an experienced quarterback with 2017 commit Charlie Brewer and bring in more competition for the job of replacing Matt Davis. The goal in such a move is to create class-year separation between two quarterbacks in the 2017 class and give Hicks a veteran challenger for the job. The SMU coaches looked at a couple junior college players, including former Wisconsin quarterback D.J. Gillins, but pounced on Peavey when he decided to leave Arkansas. He will practice with the team in the fall and Brewer will enroll in January, allowing the SMU coaches to get a look at both new passers in spring practice.

The move fills the spot that could have gone to Gillins, who visited SMU for a practice earlier this month, but did not commit.

With Peavey’s addition, SMU won’t have a quarterback competition consisting of only Hicks and freshmen. Brewer will still compete for the job when he arrives, but Peavey’s presence puts less pressure on Brewer to win the starting job right away, especially if Hicks does not show any progress. 

What Peavey brings

Peavey is a dual-threat quarterback who fits SMU’s offense well, but his skills didn’t translate at Arkansas and he was buried on the depth chart when he transferred.

“He had his moments, but probably not as impressive as he needed to be,” one source told PonyStampede’s Billy Embody. “He struggled at times, and at other times, he would show some promise. But overall, he wasn’t quite as consistent as you’d want.”

Some quarterbacks just need a change of scenery, a new offensive system and consistent snaps in practice to bring out their best performance. A source said that’s going to be important for Peavey, who will be in a system that is friendly to his skill set and in a conference with much less pressure than the SEC. 

The source said Peavey is a well-liked player and is devoted to his Christian faith.

“He’s a great kid and his teammates really respect him. He’s a guy who guys on the team at SMU will embrace and see that he’s the real deal. He’s not going to be real flashy and try to impress anybody. He’s just going to be himself, and that’s pretty much enough for most people because he’s such a good kid.”

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