At least publicly, Texas coach Tom Herman has no idea who his starting quarterback is going to be this fall, but most are fairly confident it’ll be either junior Shane Buechele or sophomore Sam Ehlinger– which was the case in 2017.
Privately only the second-year coach knows who he’s leaning to if he’s leaning one way or another.
Athlon Sports, the college sports preseason ranking staple, isn’t just leaning toward a quarterback, their practically hoisting one up in the air on Pride Rock for the rest of the Longhorn herd to see.
Athlon ranked the 2018 season’s top quarterbacks. West Virginia quarterback Will Grier is the No.1 quarterback on the list and the only Big 12 quarterback ranked in the top 25. The next Big 12 quarterback doesn’t arrive until the 30s, when sophomore Charlie Brewer is ranked No. 32 followed by No. 33 Kyle Kempt.
And No. 34? That would be … wait for it … Sam Ehlinger.
The magazine writes:
All signs point to Ehlinger holding off Shane Buechele for the starting job, and coach Tom Herman is counting on the sophomore to jumpstart an offense that averaged only 25.4 points a game in Big 12 contests last year.”
It’s probably a tad misleading to say all signs point to Ehlinger holding off Buechele when both quarterbacks saw equal playing time in the spring game and put up similar numbers. The quarterback race appeared even when the dust settled and Herman was non-committal on who would be the starting quarterback when the season starts in September against Maryland.
But it’s a good sign for Ehlinger the magazine has put a lot of faith in him (along with Las Vegas). So much so that Ehlinger ranks higher than once star recruit Kyler Murray at Oklahoma, popular 2019 NFL Draft first round pick name in Northwestern quarterback Claython Thorson and Notre Dame starter Brandon Wimbush.
This isn’t new for Texas– who has a long history of quarterback battles like this— as this is the third year in a row where Buechele has been in a quarterback competition. In 2016 it was against senior Tyrone Swoopes, which Buechele won. In 2017 it was against Ehlinger, which Buechele won but injuries forced Ehlinger into action, thus causing this offseason’s quarterback quagmire.
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