The Texas Longhorns named redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers their starting quarterback on Friday afternoon, according to multiple reports. The news arrives after rumors began circulating that Hudson Card was outperforming Ewers throughout the summer and had placed himself in a position to leapfrog Ewers on the depth chart.
The timing of the announcement is peculiar given the reaction Texas’ quarterbacking conundrum was receiving via social media. Nonetheless, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian has now named Ewers the starter for Texas’ opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 3. A massive contest against Alabama looms large on Sept. 10. This timeline of events hardly inspires confidence in Ewers’ hold on the job.
The Longhorns are preparing for the second scrimmage of fall camp, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday. Ewers is expected to receive the majority of the reps with the first-team offense following Sarkisian’s announcement. Texas will enter that practice with some much-needed clarity.
Previous reports had indicated Card has simply been more consistent. Ewers has allegedly struggled to grasp Texas’ offensive playbook, which cracked the door open for Card to make this a legitimate competition. Ewers must show considerable growth under center if he hopes to maintain his starting job.
The No. 1 overall quarterback recruit in the 2021 class, Ewers is a five-star prospect who arrived in Texas as a transfer from Ohio State to massive expectations. Ewers was always the presumed starter, and a positional skirmish involving himself and Card was not the expected outcome. He’s officially won the initial battle, but the manner in which it occurred isn’t awe-inspiring.
Card appeared in seven regular-season contests for the Longhorns last season. The No. 2 quarterback recruit in the 2020 class, Card completed 51-of-83 passing attempts (61.4 percent) for 590 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. Card rarely looked like an effective starting quarterback throughout last season’s sample size.
It’s concerning to hear he was in consideration for the starting gig given the less-than-desirable traits he’s already put on tape. If Card replaces Ewers during the season, Ewers could eventually find himself in the transfer portal for the second time in his collegiate career.
The future at quarterback is bright for the Longhorns. Maalik Murphy is an early enrollee that recently impressed at Steve Clarkson’s QB Retreat in Santa Monica. Murphy has a promising future as a pro-style quarterback that’s shown a willingness to go through his progressions while challenging opposing defenders at all levels of the field. Of course, there’s also Arch Manning, the No. 1 ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2023, and the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, who’s already committed to Texas. Both Murphy and Manning are however years away from realistically starting for the Longhorns. The focus is on the present, and Ewers’ early-season play will be placed under a microscope given his alleged struggles.
The Longhorns have not enjoyed an ideal week. Prior to this quarterback news, it was announced that wide receiver Isaiah Neyor and offensive guard Junior Angilau will both miss the entire season after suffering separate knee injuries. The pair were both primed to start in the Longhorns’ new-look offense, with Neyor projected to start opposite of star wideout Xavier Worthy, while Angilau was set to start at left guard.
The Longhorns’ season may be derailing before it even begins. The impending 2022 campaign is critical for a Longhorns squad that’s “enjoyed” just one double-digit win season since 2009. There are considerable expectations with skill players such as Worthy and Bijan Robinson in the fold. An injury to Neyor paired with an underperforming Ewers would significantly lower Texas’ expectations in 2022.
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