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Texas QB Sam Ehlinger declares for 2021 NFL Draft with heartfelt goodbye

Two days after the first reports emerged that Ehlinger would not return for a fifth season on the Forty Acres, he made the decision official.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Texas v Colorado Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The remarkable Texas Longhorns career of quarterback Sam Ehlinger is officially over.

After reports first emerged on Friday that the senior planned on declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft and forgoing a fifth season of eligibility on the Forty Acres, Ehlinger made the announcement in a video featuring a heartfelt goodbye to the school at which he always dreamed of playing.

“Dear Longhorn family. First and foremost, I want to thank Longhorn nation from the bottom of my heart for this incredible ride. Looking back, it seems like faith conspired to bring me to UT. My entire family bleeds burnt orange and the University of Texas is a part of all of our souls,” Ehlinger said in a voiceover.

“I’ve been going along home games since I was able to walk, so being recruited in high school was like a dream come true. Most people in the recruiting world told me to go elsewhere, but I felt differently in my gut. God told me go to UT and do all you can do to better the program and turn the tide. I listened and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“I’m so proud to have been your quarterback for four amazing years. I love this university and I love Longhorn nation. May God bless all of you, and hook ‘em.”

Ehlinger’s career ended on an unfortunate note — he suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of the Alamo Bowl and was forced to watch from the sidelines during his final game.

And while Ehlinger admitted that he and the program did not achieve the goal of winning championship, he believes that he left the program in a better place than he found it.

He’s right.

In four years as a starter, Ehlinger put his name among the all-time great quarterbacks in program history with Ehlinger with 11,436 passing yards and 94 touchdowns, adding in more than 1,900 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground.

Just how good was he? His bio speaks for itself:

Ehlinger, an Austin native, ends his collegiate career as one of the most successful quarterbacks in Texas history. He played in 46 games and made 43 starts during his time on the Forty Acres, leading the Longhorns to 27 wins as the starting quarterback – the fourth-most in school history. Ehlinger served as a team captain during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, becoming only the seventh two-time team captain in school history. His name is left near the top of numerous lists in the Texas record book. Most notably, he closes his collegiate career ranked second on UT record in completions (923), passing yards (11,436), total offense (13,343), passing touchdowns (94), and total touchdowns responsible for (127). Ehlinger also ranks second among Longhorn quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns (33) and third in rushing yards (1,907). He threw for more than 200 yards, and surpassed 300 yards 10 times, both the second-most in school history behind only Colt McCoy. He holds school records for lowest interception percentage (1.83%), games with a passing and rushing touchdown (18), games with 350 yards of total offense (11), games with 400 yards of total offense (5), games with 400-plus passing yards (2) and games with five-plus passing touchdowns (2), among others.

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. Ehlinger was at his best for Texas during the biggest moments and biggest games, leading UT to eight wins over ranked opponents and tying the school record with seven game-winning drives during his four-year career. He also tied McCoy for the school record with three bowl game wins as the program’s starting quarterback, and is the only quarterback in school history to play meaningful snaps in four bowl wins.

In 2020, Ehlinger has been named a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, Wuerffel Trophy and Bobby Bowden Trophy. In addition, he was selected to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, named the Big 12 Co-Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year and recognized as a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose awards. He was also a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Top-10 Candidate and earned second-team All-Big 12 recognition from the league’s coaches. Ehlinger was a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selections (2018-20) and a six-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Now it’s officially time for his next chapter in the NFL.