In a segment for FOX College Football this week, analyst Joel Klatt discussed how he believes that Texas Longhorns junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger is being overlooked nationally and why he doesn’t care for comparisons to former Florida Gators standout Tim Tebow.
"It is an absolute insult to @sehlinger3 to compare him to Tim Tebow."@JoelKlatt explains why the @TexasFootball QB deserves more respect for how he's started out the season. pic.twitter.com/OrOYvwtiWw— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 26, 2019
“Sam Ehlinger is quietly right now — because of other performances around the country from quarterbacks and even running backs like Johnathan Taylor — Sam Ehlinger is being overlooked,” Klatt said. “And yet in every single game that he’s had this season, he’s had 300 total yards and three total touchdowns. In every single game. Now, he did throw this first interception against Oklahoma State, but man, he was good.”
Indeed, Ehlinger has thrown four touchdown passes in three of his four games and hasn’t thrown for less than 276 yards in a game, with his most prolific aerial performance coming when he threw for 401 yards against LSU’s vaunted defense. He’s also run for nine first downs this season while gaining 191 yards.
“And by the way, I think it is an absolute insult to Sam Ehlinger to compare him to Tim Tebow,” Klatt continued. “He is everything Tim was as a runner. He’s a terrific kid, a terrific leader, just like Tim Tebow. He is twice or three times the passer Tebow was. Legitimately down the field, outside the numbers, folks. If you actually — this is not a total knock against Tim, he was a great college quarterback, one of the all-time greats — but as a passer, Ehlinger is much better and more dangerous outside of the numbers and down the field.”
In other words, the separation between the two comes down to arm strength and downfield accuracy, areas where Ehlinger has improved significantly throughout his career at Texas. One reason for that is how he managed his summer workload — last year, he threw too much during the summer and entered the season with some deadness in his arm. After making an adjustment in that regard this season, he ball has jumped out of his hand much better, resulting in an improved ability to target receivers on dead passes.
At Big 12 Media Days, FOX analyst and The Athletic writer Bruce Feldman told Burnt Orange Nation that he thinks Ehlinger has more upside as a passer than Tebow, but wasn’t sure if he’s better at the same stage. Feldman did, however, point out a key difference between the two players.
“Here’s the problem with Tebow — he would freelance in his head to do stuff,” Feldman said. “I think Sam has the potential to be more structured. Tebow, I just don’t think he was ever going to be wired to do the things that coaches and his teammates were expecting him to do. I know a lot of guys who played with him in the NFL and there was stuff that was just like, ‘That’s just Tebow.’ I think Sam will probably be a little different in that regard.”
So there’s another reason to stop making the lazy comparison between the two quarterbacks and put some respect on Ehlinger’s name for how supremely good he’s been through the first four games — it’s time for college football nation to take notice.