AUSTIN (KXAN) — Westlake High School junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger received the scholarship offer he has been dreaming about since he was a little kid on July 19. But he didn’t accept it right away. He waited nine days before committing to play quarterback at Texas as part of the 2017 recruiting class.
“I always knew I wanted to go to UT,” Ehlinger said. “It was a thing where I just wanted to wait and let it settle and let my family know and let it sink in their minds because I know I want to go there [Texas] and they want me to go there as well, so it was really to kind of experience the whole process before committing, and it was awesome.”
Ehlinger appears beyond his 16 years of age, and for good reason. He’s the oldest of three kids and two years ago, he had to grow quickly after his father Ross died of a heart attack at the start of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco.
“Of course it’s not a good thing, but it helped me mature and step up,” said Ehlinger. “Which is one reason it helped me start as a sophomore because I don’t think my mind would have been mature enough if I hadn’t had that situation happen and make me realize I have to man up. That’s really how the whole season and this process has been, you have to take it like a man.”
Ehlinger has leaned heavily on Westlake head coach Todd Dodge who played quarterback at Texas in the early ’80s. “He’s a great man, one of greatest men I know, it’s awesome knowing I have him, he’s leading me in the right direction in every way, it’s amazing.”
Ehlinger is well aware of the long line of outstanding quarterbacks that have come through Westlake High School, most notably Drew Brees of the Saints and Nick Foles, now with the Rams.
“When I went to Orlando, I got to speak to Drew Brees about Westlake and all that. He and Nick Foles have the passing records here and they only started two years, so I’m hoping I can pass them up.”
He’s off to quite a start. As a first-year starter in 2014, Ehlinger threw for 2,300 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 722 yards and nine touchdowns.
Since donning an official Longhorn jersey is still a few years away, Ehlinger is focused on getting ready for his opening game against Southlake Carroll at Chapparal Stadium on Aug. 28.