April 23, 2024

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) celebrates with fans after defeating Oklahoma 48-45 in an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Cooper Neill)

When second-year Texas Coach Tom Herman brought in his first recruiting class there wasn’t a lot of hype and it was rated below Longhorn standards.

The 2017 class included a four-star signal-caller, who happened to be a hometown kid that bleeds burnt orange by the name of Sam Ehlinger. There wasn’t a lot of stability at the quarterback position for Texas since Colt McCoy, but the Austin native took helms of the Longhorn’s offense as a true freshman last season. The six-foot-three, 235-pounder paid his dues during 2017 and lost to Maryland, Southern California, TCU and most importantly rival Oklahoma.

Ehlinger showed flashes of former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, with his strong arm and physical rushing ability. He finished his freshman campaign with 2,300 total yards to go along with 13 touchdowns. Ehlinger was humbled in the season-opener after Texas was defeated by Maryland for the second-straight year. Still, he showed improvement as a passer and his leadership skills was on display along the sidelines and inside the huddles with his teammates.

Revenge has been sweet to Ehlinger since the season-opening loss to the Terrapins and the Longhorns have defeated the Trojans, Horned Frogs and the hated Sooners. Texas is riding high on a five-game win streak heading into week seven. The Longhorns jumped 10 spots to No. 9 in the Associated Press Poll after the the Red River Rivalry win last Saturday. Ehlinger got to put on the golden hat for the first time and presented it to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He also earned Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week honors after his five-touchdown performance.

The quarterback has already equaled the total number of passing touchdowns he threw for last season and has completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 1,499 yards and just two interceptions through six games. Ehlinger also has 225 yards on the ground to go along with six rushing scores. He has developed a nice passing chemistry with junior receiver Collin Johnson and the two been making big plays together in the aerial attack.

The Longhorns’ offense is scoring 32 points and averaging 414 yards per game. Texas is one of two undefeated teams in the Big 12 and 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2013. A position that has been a liability for nearly 10 years has now become a strength. The local kid is the big man on campus this week and if Texas continues to win, Ehlinger will be a household name by the end of the regular season. It’ll be interesting to see how the Longhorns handle being back in the Top-10.