Ehlinger: First Blood – Part II

Jake Ehlinger. (courtesy of the Ehlinger family)

Jake Ehlinger. (courtesy of the Ehlinger family)

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There’s another one.

As if having another Ehlinger at the University of Texas wasn’t enough, Austin Westlake senior Jake Ehlinger will follow in his family’s tradition of attending the school and his brother’s footsteps of playing on the gridiron.

Ehlinger had suitors. When you boast an 4.0 GPA and high ACT/SAT scores, the Ivy Leagues come calling. There was interest from Tulsa, SMU, and Rice too, but for Jake it was more than that.

“Attending the McCombs School of Business, staying in Austin with family, the Texas football team and legacy, and thirst to prove myself and earn myself a scholarship,” Ehlinger said explaining why he passed up scholarships to stay close to home. It was always on the back of his mind.

“I thought I could after my junior year because I was getting rewards such as all-state and things like that, said Ehlinger. “And being recruited from schools made me feel good. From that point on, I thought I could but what convinced me to instill confidence that I really could was after our Brandeis playoff game this year, round four of the playoffs. Sam had been at the game and told me after that he knows I can do big things because he saw me play then and there and how much I had grown.”

That reassurance from big brother was key to this going down.

The 6-foot, 212-pound linebacker had a stellar senior campaign tallying 106 tackles, two sacks, nine TFL, and three TDs to go with a District MVP award.

But it hasn’t been decided where Ehlinger fits best yet. That won’t become clear until August.

“I honestly think that it’ll be up to the coaches wherever they see me best at,” said Ehlinger. “I played FB/H-back this year as well and had a lot of fun and was successful doing so.”

For Jake’s mother, Jena, this is becoming more surreal by the day. The opportunity for both of her sons to play at Texas is more than faith, it’s divine intervention.

“She is unbelievably happy,” said Ehlinger. “But she wouldn’t admit that to me because she wouldn’t want me to feel pressured into going to UT and would want me to be happy with where I go. She really is the most caring and giving person and wants the best for everything and everyone around her.”

Jena explains why having both Sam and Jake at Texas is such a big deal to the family.

“Both have dreamed of playing football at UT since they were little boys playing football in backyard,” Jena said. “Now, they get to do it together. Just amazing. And they are both in the business school together.”

The same school their dad Ross graduated from in 1988.

“I knew when Sam was older, and naturally stronger, that all the wrestling was going to pay off for Jake,” Jena said with laughter. “And I remember the day Jake took him down with a Gatorade bottle to the face. That was the day the QB respected the LB and realized he was just as strong.”

Losing his father at 11 years old was a stunning tragedy the family still feels.

“Ross never went easy on them and they have never gone easy on each other,” said Jena. “I love that they get to push each other and support each other on the Forty Acres, on the football field and in the same classrooms.”

With both Ehlinger boys set to play in their family’s dream backyard, DKR, Jena attributes most of it to their faith.

“Angels are real and that hard work truly does pay off,” said Jena. “This is all too good to be true without a grand plan from the man above and our angel.”

Amen.