On Tuesday, the recruiting efforts of new Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman included a visit with Westlake quarterback Sam Ehlinger, the 2017 Longhorns pledge at the position:
Great meeting with @CoachTomHerman today, National Championship coming soon. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/CUSUeIcIfw— Sam Ehlinger (@sehlinger3) November 29, 2016
A lifetime Longhorns fan who committed to Texas in the summer of 2015, Ehlinger is a planned early enrollee who has been active recruiting for the ‘Horns in the last 24 hours. His public target was Galena Park North Shore defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, his opponent in Westlake’s state title game last season:
Longhorn fans show my man @WhosThatGuy4 some love!— Sam Ehlinger (@sehlinger3) November 29, 2016
Given Ehlinger’s lifetime attachment to Texas and Herman’s sterling reputation, first as a coordinator and now as a head coach, it’s not surprising that he was on board with the hire:
Westlake QB Sam Ehlinger will enroll early at Texas. The UT coaching change didn't affect his decision in the slightest pic.twitter.com/3T82HzZqJM— Andrew Schnitker (@ASchnit_KXAN) November 29, 2016
“Coach Herman has a bright future — he’s the future and face of college football football and to get him here and get things rolling is really going to turn things around,” Ehlinger said. “I believe it’s a really, really good hire.”
Herman’s ability to help players like Ohio State’s JT Barrett and Houston’s Greg Ward Jr. evolve into successful college quarterbacks is something that stands out to Ehlinger.
“Knowing that Coach Herman is coming and seeing what he’s done with quarterbacks in the past and the way that he turned Houston around and the whole culture... there wasn’t really a question [about remaining committed].”
The 6’1.5, 215-pounder is a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 103 player nationally, the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback, and the No. 15 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Because Herman typically relies on dual-threat quarterbacks to force defenses into 11-on-11 situations, Ehlinger is arguably a better fit in his offense than current starter Shane Buechele, who just finished a sensational freshman season.
As a result, there’s a reasonable chance that Ehlinger could compete for the starting job when he arrives on campus this spring, especially since Buechele will be as unfamiliar with the offense as Ehlinger.