Football

Quinn Ewers’ pledge is big, even for Texas standards

2022 Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers’ commitment to Texas made history.

The Longhorn football program hasn’t landed a prospect as highly rated as Ewers since Vince Young committed to Mack Brown in 2002. Tom Herman hasn’t landed the high school commitment of a prospect rated as highly as Ewers, two different recruiting services’ No. 1 overall prospect, since the Class of 2016’s No. 6 overall prospect Ed Oliver committed to Herman’s Houston Cougars in 2015.

Ewers represents a level of high school prospect rarely seen at Texas over the past decade. Comparisons to Young can get thrown around easily, often inspiring national championship dreams. Ewers is a different style of player than Young, but he’s the only quarterback since 2002 whose ranking simply approaches the Texas legend’s, let alone rivals it.

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Texas has landed commitments this century from other players with the loftiest of rankings, including top five players Sergio Kindle and Jackson Jeffcoat. Recent top 10 additions include Malik Jefferson and Bru McCoy. Those players all had major expectations heaped upon them. Some succeeded, some never saw a career at Texas.

But Young and Ewers stand above the rest, rankings wise. It takes a special prospect to be ranked first overall. Jadeveon Clowney achieved that ranking in 2011. So did Leonard Fournette in 2014.

Young remained in a quarterback category by himself until Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields showed up. Now, Texas hopes they have the next in that line of the most elite quarterbacks.

NAHLIN: The Quinn Ewers Compendium

What of Tom Herman? While on his run at Houston that propelled him to the Texas job, Herman showed results not just on the field but on the recruiting trail. He leveraged every advantage available to Houston to land Oliver, the No. 6 player in the nation.

Oliver’s brother was on the team, his old high school coach was on staff, and it was the school right down the road. Plenty worked in Herman’s favor, but there still is an effort required to get a player of Oliver’s caliber to commit to a Group of 5 school.

Herman only coached Oliver for one season before taking the Texas job, but it showed he could influence the best players in the country toward committing to his program. That was proven by back-to-back top 5 classes at Texas in 2018 and 2019.

Now, it’s proven by Ewers’ commitment.

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Ewers will join a quarterback room with others who were highly-rated coming out of high school. Hudson Card was the No. 7 player in Texas for the 2020 class. His classmate, Ja’Quinden Jackson, was also a top 10 in-state player. Between that duo and Ewers is Jalen Milroe, another top 10 in-state and top 100 overall prospect in the Class of 2021.

But none enter with Ewers’ accolades.

Ewers of course still has his junior and senior seasons to play for the Carroll Dragons. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football named him the preseason offensive MVP for District 4-6A. He hopes to lead Carroll past the state quarterfinals, where Jackson’s Duncanville Panthers knocked Riley Dodge’s team out of the playoffs in 2019, to its record ninth (and even tenth) state championship.

Rankings can of course change. Ewers could lose his hold on that No. 1 overall prospect spot in between now and his signing. But they won’t change much, and it won’t change the type of player that Ewers is: a day-one difference maker that checks all the boxes coaches look for in quarterbacks, and a player whose ranking is only matched by the best Longhorn football player of the 21st century.