Texas QB Sam Ehlinger enters 2021 NFL Draft

John Hamilton

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Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger will forego his final allowed season of eligibility and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

Ehlinger leaves Austin as one of the most beloved players in recent program history. After Texas posted three straight losing seasons, the Austin Westlake star Ehlinger won the starting job in 2017 and helped lead the program to four straight bowl victories. 

Following a Big 12 championship game appearance and Sugar Bowl win over Georgia, Ehlinger graced the cover of Dave Campbell's Texas Football in 2019. The cover story delved into how Ehlinger handled the pressure of being a hometown kid turned national lightning rod as an 18-year-old. 

However, Ehlinger struggled to find his form as a senior, fielding his lowest completion percentage and passing yardage per game since his freshman season. The Longhorns did not reach the Big 12 championship game in either of his final two seasons. 

Ehlinger leaves the 40 Acres among the leading quarterbacks in the history of the program. Ehlinger ranks No. 2 in passing yards, single-season passing yards, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns, only trailing Colt McCoy in each category.

The NCAA ruled that the fall 2020 season will not count against player eligibility, so Ehlinger could have returned for an unprecedented fifth season as a starter. However, he decided now is the time to try his hand at the next level. Texas has not had a quarterback drafted since McCoy in 2010. 

With Ehlinger off to the NFL, the quarterback battle turns to Lake Travis product Hudson Card vs. primary backup Casey Thopmson. The latter stepped in after Ehlinger hurt his shoulder in his final Alamo Bowl and completed 8-of-10 passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns 

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