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In landing Quinn Ewers, Texas’ Steve Sarkisian shores up need, regains recruiting mojo

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) and wide receiver Chris Olave (2) walk up the tunnel to the locker room prior to the NCAA football game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan Wolverines

Steve Sarkisian wears a close-cropped hair style. He may start growing a mullet.

The Texas coach landed a massive recruiting win Sunday night when quarterback Quinn Ewers, the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 recruiting class, decided he was transferring to the Longhorns, according to Yahoo Sports.

“Hey Alexa play ‘Take Me to Texas’ by @GeorgeStrait #HookEm,” Ewers tweeted just after 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Ewers’ commitment comes on the heels of five-star offensive lineman Kelvin Banks’s decision to commit to Texas. Banks is considered the second-best offensive tackle recruit in the nation and 15th-best overall prospect, according to 247Sports composite rankings.

Landing Banks was enormous. Getting Ewers was just as big. It was a massive twin win for Sarkisian and the Horns. Early signing day is Wednesday, but recruits could also wait  until the late signing period that starts Feb. 2.

After the Ewers news broke Sunday night, Texas recruiting director Brandon Harris tweeted, “#SarkAfterDark.”

Defensive tackle Keondre Coburn also tweeted, “Dammm what a weekend.”

Ewers, a Southlake Carroll product, first committed to Texas under former coach Tom Herman. In October 2020, Ewers said he was “100% committed.” But six days later, he flipped to Ohio State, reclassified his eligibility to skip his high school senior year and enroll with the Buckeyes.

Ohio State freshman C.J. Stroud proved to be sensational, winning the Big Ten offensive player and quarterback of the year honors while Ewers was buried on the depth chart.

Ewers put his name into the transfer portal at the end of the regular season. Sarkisian reportedly met with Ewers and his family on Saturday before the quarterback was scheduled to visit Texas Tech the following day. Ewers was also expected to hear a recruiting pitch from TCU, according to Yahoo Sports. 

More:Quinn Ewers, once committed to Texas, leaving Ohio State. Should Horns chase him again?

More:Texas’ Steve Sarkisian meets with Quinn Ewers, but TCU now gunning for five-star transfer

But now, Ewers is headed to Austin and finds the quarterback job wide open going into the 2022 season.

Sat., Nov. 20, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) practices on the sideline during a break in play in the second quarter of a NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium.

Cfb Michigan State Spartans At Ohio State Buckeyes

Known for his bleach-blond mullet, Ewers will have every chance to push Casey Thompson and Hudson Card for playing time. Card won the starting job last season but ultimately gave way to Thompson by week three. Thompson suffered a thumb injury against Oklahoma as the Horns eventually sputtered to a 5-7 finish.

Texas is also expected to sign California-based Maalik Murphy on Dec. 15. Sarkisian was just in Murphy’s home this week for one final recruiting visit. Murphy’s high school team captured a state championship over the weekend, too.

“We’re going to tear this thing all the way down, and we’re going to start back at square one come winter conditioning and then into spring ball,” Sarkisian said on Nov. 22.

More than just getting another quarterback in the fold, Ewers represents a psychological win of sorts for Sarkisian and the Longhorns. 

The coach needed to land a player that grew up wanting to wear burnt orange and represented a major position of need. If Sarkisian couldn’t do that, the recruiting sites said, how was he going to build Texas into a winner.

Now, Texas has a five-star athlete joining the quarterback room — albeit one who hasn’t played much since the first half of his junior season at Southlake Carroll in 2020. Ewers missed the second half that year with a sports hernia injury, but he returned for the team’s late December playoff push.

Ewers appeared in only one game at Ohio State where he handed off twice in garbage time. Ohio State coach Ryan Day told reporters it would be “a little while” before Ewers was ready to take the offensive reins. Of course, by that point, Stroud had already started to emerge.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.