Quinn Ewers is the No. 1 topic as Texas begins spring football training

AUSTIN — To absolutely no one’s surprise, redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers was the talk of the day once Texas wrapped up its first of 15 spring football training sessions.

Most of the questions asked by second-year coach Steve Sarkisian on Tuesday morning after the Longhorns ended inside the Royal-Memorial Stadium concerned Ewers, the former Southlake Carroll star and No. 1 overall rookie who s reclassified to the Class of 2021 and enrolled at Ohio State last August. When that didn’t work out, Ewers transferred to UT with plans to win the starting job in 2022.

“I think a lot of times when guys are transferred, you see it goes both ways,” Sarkisian said. “You see guys come in and really immerse themselves in it. You see other guys kind of waiting and getting a sense of how it’s going. I think Quinn did a good job of just immersing herself in it and not getting too caught up in “Am I the starter, am I?”

With one training less and 14 to go, including the Orange-White spring game on April 23, here’s a look at some of the most important topics Sarkisian covered on Tuesday morning:

Another QB battle begins

Last year it was Casey Thompson and Hudson Card. Thompson transferred to Nebraska after starting the Longhorns’ last 10 games in 2021, but Card is preparing for another battle in his third year on campus.

For now, the race is between Card and Ewers. First registrant Maalik Murphy will eventually join this race once he is cleared to return from an ankle injury.

Despite all the hype, Card may have an early advantage over Ewers, who hasn’t thrown a pass in a game since his freshman year in high school. Card appeared in seven games with two starts last season, completing 61.4% of his passes for 590 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.

At this early stage of the competition, Sarkisian said he mainly looks for three things from quarterbacks.

“The first is that I would like him to really understand what we are trying to do,” Sarkisian said. “You know, what does each game emphasize? Second, there is the understanding of the defense. What are the fronts, what are the covers, what are the pressures, then do the necessary readings there. And third, obviously, the ability to make the game. First look live, I mean, it was pretty good.

Ewers get comfortable

As talented as Card and Murphy are, there’s a reason Texas fans were craving backflips in the streets when Ewers signed on.

In 22 career high school games, the former All-American completed 70 percent of his passes for 6,445 passing yards with 73 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ewers also rushed for 701 yards and 12 rushing scores.

Sarkissian won’t name a starter until August, just like last year. But so far, Ewers has acclimated well to his surroundings while facing enormous pressure.

“Quinn, he’s a pretty cool customer,” Sarkisian said. “I don’t think he’s a very anxious guy. He’s not too cool a guy for school. I just think he likes football. I think he likes being on a team and being on that team and being around guys he’s comfortable with. It’s just comfortable for him, and it’s comfortable for me when I look at it. I don’t feel like he’s a guy trying to be “the man” here.

Finding Receiver Help

True rookie Xavier Worthy was a revelation last season, leading the team in receptions (62), receiving yards (981) and touchdowns (12) and yards per strike (15.82). He was the only Longhorn to finish with more than 26 receptions and 380 yards.

Digne is only expected to improve after his first full offseason at UT. But the Longhorns need more people in this room to step in, starting with oft-injured slot catcher Jordan Whittington and Wyoming junior transfer Isaiah Neyor.

Neyor earned second-team All-Mountain West honors last year after converting 44 receptions for 878 yards and 12 touchdowns. Whittington remains an electric receiving threat who unfortunately couldn’t stay on the pitch due to a long string of injuries.

The development of these two will be crucial for new receivers coach Brennan Marion, considered one of the game’s rising stars at just 34 years old.

“Brennan is a terrific technician,” Sarkisian said. “This guy is one of the best coaches when it comes to teaching technique, line of scrimmage (play), road running, ability to catch the ball. I think guys buy into it. I think he gets on really well with the players and they react.

nmoyle@express-news.net

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Jessica C. Bell