There's that change in ratings and, dang, it was a big one -- Texas Longhorns commit Sam Ehlinger is now 247Sports' highest-rated quarterback in the state after receiving a long-awaited ratings bump from the service and becoming a consensus four-star prospect.
And while Ehlinger still ranks behind TCU commit Shawn Robinson in the 247Sports Composite, Ehlinger is now the No. 109 prospect nationally, the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback, and the No. 11 player in the state of Texas, according to 247Sports. Besides the fact that Ehlinger had tremendously impressive junior film, Robinson struggled as a junior after a monster sophomore season, providing the opportunity for Ehlinger to make the jump above him.
Ehlinger took advantage and could still move past Robinson in the Composite as more up-to-date evaluations trickle in.
The bump also provides confirmation to the belief that Ehlinger is already a slightly better prospect than 2016 early enrollee Shane Buechele, who earned a rating of 90 by 247Sports and slotted as the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback at the end of the process. The initial guess here at Ehlinger's 247Sports rating as 92 was partly based on some concerns voiced by National Scouting Director Barton Simmons:
How high do we go with the gunslinger from Austin? Ehlinger is going to be a four-star. We just have to decide how high we rank a kid with limited physical tools but video game production. With Ehlinger committed to Texas and Martell committed to A&M, there's going to be a lot of opinions on these two from fans.
Clearly, the answer was pretty high indeed, as those "limited physical tools" were not the ultimate determining factor in his ranking, and Ehlinger is now rated at 94 by the service, even higher than anticipated.
Not many quarterbacks look college-ready as juniors in high school, but Ehlinger is as probably close as anyone in the country after a 2015 season that saw him throw for 3,833 yards and 50 touchdowns, while adding 1,360 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. Just as impressively, Ehlinger completed 61.2 percent of his passes and threw only five interceptions in 391 attempts for an interception rate of 1.2 percent. In evaluating quarterbacks, I typically consider anything under 1.5 percent as pretty elite.
There are a few more thoughts I had on his junior season from the other night when I kinda geeked out over his film after it came out. I should have been working on National Signing Day prep. Oops.
Beyond the gaudy stats, though, Ehlinger led his team to the 6A Division II state championship game and earned AP Player of the Year honors just prior to that contest. A lifetime Longhorns fan, Ehlinger committed to Texas committed in late July of 2015 over offers from Houston, McNeese State, and SMU. He plans to enroll early with the Longhorns next January.
It's also worth remembering that Ehlinger was hardly the big coup in the state at the quarterback position when he committed late last summer following an evaluation by former assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson:
Kellen Mond to BU, Shawn Robinson to TCU and Chris Robison to OU...UT misses out on the top tier of QBs in 2017... womp womp.— BearsIllustrated.com (@baylorscout) June 27, 2015
So much for that. And kudos to Watson for putting Texas in a position to eventually benefit from Ehlinger's big junior season that has so drastically changed the perception of the Westlake product as a recruit and the longterm outlook of the quarterback position in Austin.