Texas names Quinn Ewers as starting QB: Former No. 1 overall pick leads Hudson Card in offseason competition

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian made a long-awaited decision 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, overtaking 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.

News of Ewers winning the post comes on the same day rumors swirled that Card might actually be the favorite to win the title. Card had the advantage of experience in the contest, starting the first two games for the Longhorns last year before being benched for Casey Thompson, who was recently named starting quarterback at Nebraska.

Ewers has all the makings of a potential superstar. He didn’t throw a pass last season for Ohio State, but helped lead Southlake Carroll to the Texas 6A DI state championship game before beginning his short-lived stint with the Buckeyes. Gabe Brooks, Midlands-area 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 to qualify for dual-threat tag. Elite improvisational QB who can extend plays and stay accurate on the move. Throws with smooth, easy delivery and changes arm angles as needed. Impressive speed and spin speed really shows on routes over the middle and down the seams Vertical arm strength that stretches upfield to consistently make big plays over the top Also shows encouraging touch on timing patterns and down routes that make him require.”

Texas will open the season Sept. 3 in Austin against ULM. It will host top-ranked Alabama in Week 2 of the season.

What does Ewers’ spotlight mean for the 2022 season and beyond? Let’s take a look at some key takeaways from Friday’s announcement.

Potential trumps stability

Ewers was the #1 overall player in the 2021 class for a reason. He has a rocket of an arm, is accurate on essentially every route, and is perfect for a Texas offense that is loaded with talent. But with the exception of a few token shows last year for the Buckeyes, it’s all new to the college football world.

Sarkisian decided to roll the dice and give Ewers the edge over Card’s two plays for the opening try. Of course, the fact that Card was benched in last year’s game against Arkansas certainly played a role in the decision as well. However, Card was already given a chance and it didn’t work out.

The looming Week 2 matchup against the Crimson Tide — where Sarkisian once served as coach Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator — should also have weighed heavily on Sark’s decision. He knows how explosive the Crimson Tide’s offense can be; he helped build its foundation. Giving your team a shot by bringing in a high-potential quarterback like Ewers is the responsible thing to do, 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 to the decision-makers in Austin, regardless of where former coach Tom Herman left it. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s on the hot seat. In fact, CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd gave Sarkeesian a “1” on his annual hot seat metermeaning “safe and secure” according to its scale.

That being said, this is definitely a swing year for Sarkisian and the Longhorns. If Ewers doesn’t pan out, it’s an indication that he hasn’t developed the way the coaching staff expected. That would fall on Sarkeesian’s staff from both a developmental and talent evaluation perspective.

Pedigree established

Sarkisian isn’t on the hot seat this year in large part because of an upcoming recruiting class that includes star quarterback and No. 1 overall player Arch Manning. By starting Ewers this year, Sarkisian could give him two years under center before transitioning to the NFL redshirt Manning in his first year before passing on the legacy as a redshirt freshman in 2024.

It’s a very strong plan that almost any other coach in the country would kill for. But does that mean “Texas is back?” Of course not.

This phrase has been uttered almost every year since the team lost to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game following the 2009 season and has become the focal point of a sad joke. However, Sarkisian has primed the program for long-term success through high school recruiting and a transfer portal.

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