Texas has lost their locker room leader and star quarterback to the NFL when Sam Ehlinger was selected in the 6th round, 218th overall, last April by the Indianapolis Colts. Ehlinger was everything you wanted in a Longhorn Quarterback: tough, kind, smart and a natural born leader. No, Sam Ehlinger was not perfect. He had some issues throwing with consistency at times and some may argue he tucked the ball away and ran too often or missed open receivers, but Ehlinger was the best quarterback Texas fans have seen since Colt McCoy. Replacing him as a locker room leader and one-man offense is going to be a tall task. Luckily for Casey Thompson and Hudson Card, Bijan Robinson is now a full-time starter at running back to ease the transition. But who will be the quarterback putting the ball in his hands 20-30 times a game? Grab yourself a beer, cocktail, or cup of coffee and let’s talk it out.
The Case for Casey Thompson
Casey Thompson was a four-star dual threat quarterback out of Newcastle, Oklahoma. Casey was the #14 ranked Dual-Threat Quarterback in his recruiting cycle and had a composite rating of .9021 (according to 247sports). Son of Charles Thompson (former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback), Casey committed to The Forty Acres on April 13th, 2017. Thompson sat behind Sam Ehlinger for three seasons (one as a redshirted year). Casey Thompson has a total of 29 pass attempts in his collegiate career, 10 of them coming against Colorado in the second half of the Alamo Bowl. Casey completed 8/10 passes for 170 yards and 4 touchdowns, a very impressive game after coming in for relief after Sam Ehlinger was injured in the first half. Thompson flashed accuracy, poise, athleticism, and leadership during the Alamo Bowl and during the 2021 Spring Game.
The Case for Hudson Card
Hudson Card was a high four star recruit out of Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. Card was the #2 ranked Dual-Threat Quarterback in his recruiting cycle and had a composite rating of .9721(according to 247sports). Card enrolled at Texas January 21st, 2020. Hudson Card played sparingly behind Ehlinger and Thompson, only having three pass attempts last season, all coming in the Alamo Bowl against Colorado. Card did pick up a redshirt so still has four years of college eligibility available to him. Card coming out of High School was clearly more polished and physically gifted than Casey Thompson and their recruiting composite scores reflect that. Card was also impressive during the spring game for the most part. He showed flashes of throwing with anticipation and rolling out and placing the ball on the receivers numbers. Card also does a solid job working within the pocket, not bailing too quickly even during scrimmage where he has no chance to break out of a “sack”. Card has a quick release and the arm talent to throw darts with enough juice to get to the receivers in a hurry, Cards team struggled with drops all game which was discouraging, but says more about the Texas Receiving Corps than Card’s ability to quarterback an offense.
Who Has The Edge?
Currently, I believe Casey Thompson has the edge over Hudson Card because of his experience (although it isn’t a lot more than Card’s) and vocal leadership qualities. Sarkisian has talked about how Casey Thompson has been impressive with his vocal leadership, something Hudson Card is rumored to lack at the moment. Hudson Card has to show that he has become a vocal leader on this team during fall practices if he wants to start Week 1 against Louisiana – Lafayette. I suspect Sark will hold out as late as possible to name a starter to keep Casey and Hudson from jumping into the transfer portal. The race may be tight enough where Sarkisian actually doesn’t even know who the starter will be until a week or two before Week 1.
Who I Want To Start
Obviously, I want the best man for the job to start and I trust Steve Sarkisian’s judgement from inside the building above my own. BUT, if all things were equal and Casey Thompson and Hudson Card were neck and neck with each other for the starting job I would prefer to see Hudson Card be the starter. Card has more physical talent with his arm strength, quick release, and accuracy outside of the pocket than Casey Thompson does (although maybe not by much) and is younger with more potential and upside. The real deal breaker for me though is that he has two more years of eligibility than Thompson does. The worst case scenario for Texas is if Thompson is named the starter and Hudson Card decides to enter the transfer portal, putting a lot of pressure on Sarkisian and the Texas Staff to make sure they have their next quarterback in waiting for the 2023 season. Maalik Murphy is a great recruit with even more potential than Hudson Card, but if Card was the starter Texas would have some leeway with Murphy’s development.
Thank you for reading this article and be sure to check me out on Twitter @ryfootballscout and make sure to be following us: @longhorns_atb. We are doing a giveaway for two free tickets to Texas’ Week 1 game against Louisiana Lafayette! Check out our Twitter page for more details on how to enter the raffle! Thanks again, Peace!