Sam Ehlinger considered leaving Texas for the NFL last season but opted to return for his senior season, and he might be the best returning quarterback in the Big 12. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Ehlinger’s Heisman Trophy chances and Texas’ 2020 college football season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Sam Ehlinger Heisman Trophy Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
Ehlinger played prep football at powerhouse Westlake High School near Austin, Texas where he broke school records held by Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Drew Brees and Nick Foles. He committed to Texas in July 2015 and joined the team two years later.
In his freshman season with the Longhorns in 2017, Ehlinger split playing time with quarterback Shane Buechele, playing in nine games and compiling a 2-4 record as a starter.
The next year, though, Ehlinger started every game and has never looked back. As a sophomore in 2018, he was 275-of-425 for 3,292 yards and 25 touchdowns to just five interceptions while adding 16 rushing touchdowns, the most ever by a Longhorn quarterback. His 41 touchdowns responsible for are second-most in school history, behind only Colt McCoy (45 in 2008).
Ehlinger became the first player in UT history to pass for at least 25 touchdowns and rush for at least 15 in a season, and his 3,292 passing yards were the fifth-most in school history for a single season. He set a Big 12- and school-record with 308 consecutive passes without an interception in 2018
Last year, UT was a modest disappointment at 8-5 but did end strong with a 38-10 upset of No. 11 Utah in the Alamo Bowl. Ehlinger completed 12-of-18 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns against a very good Utes defense. He completed 67 percent of his passes while rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown. Ehlinger blistered the Utah secondary to the tune of 11.2 yards per attempt en route to a 438-to-254 advantage in total yards.
Overall, Ehlinger was 296-of-454 for 3,663 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 663 yards and seven touchdowns on 163 carries. He accounted for 4,326 yards of total offense (2nd in school history) and 39 total touchdowns (3rd) this season. He was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Wuerffel Trophy and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
As noted above, Ehlinger did ponder declaring for the NFL Draft, submitting his name to the NFL College Advisory Committee for feedback on his draft “stock.” Apparently, Ehlinger didn’t hear what he was hoping for. There hasn’t been a single quarterback out of the Longhorns program that was even selected on day two of the NFL Draft since 2010, when McCoy was picked up by the Cleveland Browns.
That there was no spring football might have helped Ehlinger as he aggravated a rib cartilage strain while working out this winter. If there’s one ding on Ehlinger’s resume it’s that he is currently 1-3 all-time against rival Oklahoma with a dramatic win in 2018 under his belt. He has performed well in the game, though, throwing just one interception in four meetings.
Ehlinger is making sure he’s staying ready and preparing as if there will be a season that starts on time in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. His day starts at 6:30 AM, he goes to the garage and lifts from about 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. He follows that up with either team meetings online or does some recovery work, then finishes the morning usually with some running. Ehlinger says he’s in class from about 12:30-3:15, and usually wraps up his day by going back outside and throwing the football with his brother.
“If everybody is preparing the way we should be preparing on our own, at our houses, we should be ready whenever we get the call that says we’re allowed back in the facility,” says Ehlinger.
Texas opens the season Sept. 5 at home vs. South Florida. Texas will play USF $1.9 million. It’s the largest single-game cash guarantee in USF history. The initial deal, negotiated by former USF athletic director Mark Harlan, called for USF to play in Austin in ’20 and ’24, with the Longhorns coming to Tampa on Sept. 3, 2022. But Texas opted out of the last two games.