Texas Longhorns 2017 quarterback commit Sam Ehlinger is a four-star prospect with immense athleticism. Not only that, he’ll be a third-generation UT student who was wearing the burnt orange as a toddler.
His mother, Jena Ehlinger, outlines his history in a piece from Inside Texas, sharing a story about having to hide her son's burnt orange t-shirt when he was three or four years old because he refused to take it off. The Texas ties now go even deeper -- Ehlinger’s high school head coach, Todd Dodge, his personal trainer, and an aunt are also Texas graduates.
The stage was also set for Ehlinger to become a successful quarterback from a young age. He’s a natural athlete who excelled at youth soccer before he’d entered kindergarten because of his vision on the field and he was always attentive to what was going on around him, according to his mother:
"He's always been an old soul since the day he was born," Jena said. "He's always had a level of maturity. We used to call him ‘the reporter' when he was a little boy. He was always listening to adults, and when the conversation was over, 30 minutes later he would ask me ‘mom, when you all were talking about (a subject), what did that mean?' He was always sitting back and observing, taking things in and asking the right questions after he'd process it. He's a thinker and just has always had a maturity about him since he was little."
The consensus four-star prospect has dealt with more than his share of hardship as well, losing his father at the age of 13. His mother says that loss, along with being the oldest of three, has led him to a maturity beyond his years.
Ehlinger enjoys a high profile now but was more or less under the radar as recently as two years ago. Jena Ehlinger says the family was somewhat unprepared for the college recruiting game:
"About five years ago, Sam’s dad started to realize he’s really got something special," Jena explained. "Ross would say he didn’t know how to handle this process (of being a potentially highly touted recruit). (Ross) knew Sam would love to play in college but I feel weird asking people about it because he’s only in 7th grade, 8th grade, but we knew he had something there. Being underrated was partly our fault because we didn’t know how to play this (recruiting) game – the camps, the trainers. My husband didn’t play college ball (even though Ross was a triathlete) so it was new to us."
Making the Elite 11 was a dream come true for the Westlake High product. Playing quarterback is about athleticism, but also about showing leadership and competitiveness, both of which Ehlinger excels at.
He posted the all-time Westlake quarterback records on his bathroom mirror more than a year ago. The list includes the likes of Drew Brees and Nick Foles, and when Ehlinger breaks a record he checks it off the list.
In spite of this, he remains humble off the field:
"Being even-keeled is one of his greatest strengths," said Jena. "He’s fiercely competitive. Sometimes our friends on the other team would say ‘don’t tick him off.’ He’s got those evil eyes. He gets those eyes and you better watch out. But he never gets too high or too low, especially in a competitive environment. He’s still humble."
Ehlinger’s younger brother Jake will play at linebacker for Westlake this fall, so there's a chance that could be yet another Ehlinger headed for the Forty Acres in a few years.