Texas fans simply couldn’t believe their eyes as one local quarterback after another spurned – or got ignored – by their hometown team and went on to become a star elsewhere.
Sam Ehlinger grew up wanting to be a Longhorn, and to him, there’s no place else he’d rather be. The Westlake junior announced Tuesday that he’s committed to Texas for 2017.
“You know, I couldn’t see myself at any other school, and it’s been a dream my whole life,” Ehlinger told the American-Statesman shortly after making his announcement on Twitter.
“I know of a lot of kids wait really long to see how many offers they can pick up,” he added. “To me, it was about waiting to get the offer from Texas. I didn’t see any point in waiting any longer.”
Texas coach Charlie Strong said numerous times he wants to “get the pride back” within the program. No better way than to recruit athletes like Ehlinger, someone who badly wants to wear burnt orange. “Got some very exciting news for the future of the program! #LetsRide,” Strong tweeted.
Ehlinger is Texas’ second commitment for 2017, joining John Tyler receiver Damion Miller, who pledged in late June.
Ehlinger’s recruitment was something of a whirlwind, as far as the typical recruiting process goes. Texas coaches offered him a scholarship on July 19 after the team’s Under the Lights camp at Royal-Memorial Stadium.
“Both of my parents went to school there,” Ehlinger said. “I grew up going to DKR and watching football games. It was my childhood school and childhood dream.”
So did Ehlinger (6 feet 1, 207 pounds) even consider taking other visits and seeing other places? He holds offers from SMU, Houston and McNeese State. “I did, but I always knew in the back of my head where I wanted to go,” he said.
Texas coaches have told Ehlinger he’s the only quarterback they will sign for 2017. “They said they’re taking one quarterback (for) their class, and I’m their guy,” Ehlinger said.
Ehlinger is considered a three-star prospect and the nation’s 10th-best dual-threat quarterback, according to Horns247. His overall ranking could go up dramatically over the next two years at Westlake under coach Todd Dodge, a former Texas quarterback himself. Westlake was once home to Drew Brees (Purdue), Nick Foles (Michigan State) and Jay Rodgers (Indiana).
In late June, Ehlinger led Westlake to the 7-on-7 passing title at the Drew Brees passing academy in Orlando, Fla. Then on July 11, Westlake won the 7-on-7 state title in College Station.
Texas’ quarterback situation looks dramatically different now. By the 2017 season, the Longhorns could have Jerrod Heard, Kai Locksley, Matthew Merrick, Arlington Lamar’s Shane Buechele and Ehlinger standing on the sideline.
“I would say that I don’t think there’s anything else that would change my mind,” Ehlinger said. “The University of Texas is the greatest university in the nation.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957.