AUSTIN, Texas — As the Texas Longhorns accepted an invitation to play in its second-straight Alamo Bowl, UT fans have to wonder if this bowl game will be the last time they'll see senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger don the burnt orange and white.
Ehlinger has not officially announced a decision on whether or not he would return for an unprecedented fifth year as UT's starting quarterback – which he technically could do because of a COVID-19-related eligibility waiver for student-athletes in 2020. Basically, this entire season is a free year of eligibility for NCAA student-athletes and does not count toward their four years.
The writing seems to be on the wall that Ehlinger will not return in 2021, however, after comments from head coach Tom Herman alluded that the quarterback would be leaving.
"We'll miss Ta'quon Graham, we'll miss Joseph Ossai. We're going to miss the heck out of Sam Ehlinger," Herman said in a press conference on Dec. 16.
Herman's response came when fielding a question about losing starters and playmakers due to opt outs. Among them was the announcement of Joseph Ossai opting out of the rest of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft. Ossai became the fifth of seven Texas captains to opt out of the 2020 season, along with Chris Brown, TaQuon Graham, Caden Sterns and Samuel Cosmi. With the injury to Derek Kerstetter in the Kansas State game, the only captain left available for the bowl game is Ehlinger.
Whether Ehlinger decides to leave or come back, he's already surmounted himself among the pinnacle of quarterbacks in UT football history.
In his career at the Forty Acres, Ehlinger is second all-time in passing yards (11,276), second all-time in passing touchdowns (93), fourth all-time in wins (26) and eighth all-time in rushing touchdowns (33).
Ehlinger has led UT to four straight bowl games and boasts a 3-0 record in bowl games ahead of this second consecutive trip to the Alamo Bowl.
Last season in the Alamo Bowl, Ehlinger was selected the offensive MVP after accounting for 278 total yards and four total touchdowns.
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