AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sam Ehlinger’s time at Texas is over after a record-setting Longhorns career over the last four years.
Ehlinger declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Sunday, forgoing his extra season of eligibility in 2021.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA adjusted its eligibility rules for 2020, giving every player a free year. If Ehlinger wanted to come back for 2021, he could have used the NCAA’s free pass and played one more college season.
Ehlinger announced his decision in a video posted to social media.
The Austin native made 43 career starts at Texas. His numbers are firmly in the Longhorns record books with 11,276 passing yards, 1,912 rushing yards and 126 total touchdowns.
Ehlinger is one of only three players in FBS history to throw for at least 11,000 career yards and rush for more than 1,500 yards. He is also one of only three players in FBS history to throw for at least 90 touchdowns and rush for 30. Ehlinger’s 127 touchdowns responsible for rank as the fourth-most in Big 12 history, and his 94 passing touchdowns are the seventh-best tally by a Big 12 quarterback, according to Texas Athletics.
Ehlinger didn’t finish the final game of his Longhorns career, leaving the Alamo Bowl after the first half due to a shoulder injury. Before the game, the four-year starter said he was still considering his future playing plans.
Ehlinger has been the heart and soul of the Longhorns program for the majority of the last four seasons. He made his first start at USC in 2017, throwing a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Trojans. Ehlinger’s fumble during the overtime period ultimately resulted in a Longhorns loss.
The quarterback just months after graduating from Austin Westlake High School split starting duties with Shane Buechele during the 2017 season.
In 2018, Ehlinger took charge at the quarterback position, leading the Longhorns to an upset win over Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown and an appearance in the Big 12 championship game Ehlinger led another upset to close out the 2018 season with a win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Texas finished the 2018 season with 10 wins for the first time since 2009.
Longhorns fans and Ehlinger expected Texas to take the next step toward competing for a national championship in 2019 and 2020, but the Longhorns finished with a 15-8 overall record in Ehlinger’s final two seasons.
On Saturday, Texas fired Tom Herman, Ehlinger’s head coach for his entire college career. New Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said he planned to give Ehlinger a call to discuss the decision.
“Clearly, Sam [Ehlinger] is a heckuva football player. He’d be someone I’d be remiss not to try to keep around. There’s a phone call coming. We’ll see. He’s got a personal decision to make. Those are all conversations down the road,” Sarkisian said.
Ehlinger won 27 games as the Longhorns starting quarterback – the fourth-most in school history, serving as a team captain during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.