Texas coach Steve Sarkisian made a highly anticipated decision on Friday with the program announcing that Ohio State transfer and former five-star prospect Quinn Ewers has won the starting quarterback job for the Longhorns, beating out Hudson Card for the top spot on the depth chart. Ewers was the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2021 and originally signed with the Buckeyes out of Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas.
The news of Ewers winning the job comes on the same day in which rumors swirled that Card might actually be the front-runner to earn the starting nod. Card had the experience advantage in the race, starting the first two games for the Longhorns last year before being benched for Casey Thompson, who was recently .
Ewers has all the makings of a potential superstar. He didn't throw a pass last season for Ohio State, but he helped lead Southlake Carroll to the Texas 6A D-I state championship game prior to beginning his short-lived stint with the Buckeyes. Gabe Brooks, midlands region recruiting analyst for 247Sports, provided this scouting report on Texas' new starting quarterback.
"Good height with a plus frame," Brooks wrote. "Pro-style QB with athleticism and mobility that qualify for a dual-threat label. Elite improvisational QB who can extend plays and remain accurate on the move. Throws with a smooth, easy delivery and varies arm angles as needed. Impressive velocity and spin rate really show on routes over the middle and down the seams. Field-stretching vertical arm strength to consistently hit big plays over the top. Also shows encouraging touch on timing patterns and downfield routes that require it."
Texas will open the season on Sept. 3 in Austin against ULM. It will host top-ranked Alabama in Week 2 of the season.
What does Ewers being thrust into the spotlight mean for the 2022 season and beyond? Let's have a look at some key takeaways from the announcement on Friday.
Potential outweighs stability
Ewers was the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2021 for a reason. He has a rocket for an arm, is accurate on essentially every route and is a perfect fit for a Texas offense that is loaded with talent. But, save for a few token handoffs last year for the Buckeyes, is completely new to the college football world.
Sarkisian decided to roll the dice and favor Ewers' upside over Card's two games of starting experience. Of course, the fact that Card was benched in the Arkansas game last year certainly played into the decision as well. After all, Card was already given a chance and it didn't work out.
The looming Week 2 game vs. the Crimson Tide -- where Sarkisian once served as coach Nick Saban's offensive coordinator -- had to weigh heavily into Sark's decision as well. He knows just how explosive the Crimson Tide offense can be; he helped build its foundation. Giving his team a puncher's chance by featuring a quarterback with upside as high as Ewers is doing the responsible thing, even if it comes at the expense of experience.
Sark's cards are on the table
Texas went 5-7 last year, which is unacceptable for the decision-makers in Austin no matter where former coach Tom Herman left it. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's on the hot seat. In fact, CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd gave Sarkisian a "1" on his, which means "safe and secure" according to his scale.
With that said, it absolutely is a swing year for Sarkisian and the Longhorns. If Ewers doesn't work out, it's an indication that he hasn't developed in the way that the coaching staff anticipated. That would fall on Sarkisian's staff both from a development and talent evaluation perspective.
The lineage is set
Sarkisian isn't on the hot seat this year due in large part to the upcoming recruiting class, which includes star quarterback and No. 1 overall player Arch Manning. By starting Ewers this year, Sarkisian could give him two years under center before he bolts to the NFL, redshirt Manning in his first year before handing the legacy the ball as a redshirt freshman in 2024.
That's a very strong blueprint for which nearly every other coach in the country would kill. But does it mean that "Texas is back?" Of course not.
That phrase has been uttered almost every year since it lost to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game following the 2009 season and has become the punchline to a sad joke. However, Sarkisian has set the program up for long-term success through high school and transfer portal recruiting.