Looking into Texas’ quarterback battle

Riley Glenn

On April 24, Texas will take the field in a public setting for the first time since its Alamo Bowl victory over Colorado. However, quite a bit has changed since that blowout win.

Former head coach Tom Herman was replaced by Steve Sarkisian, and Sam Ehlinger declared for the NFL draft, leaving a massive hole in the roster at its most important position. So far, two candidates have emerged as frontrunners for the starting job:

Casey Thompson, junior:

Casey Thompson, a 6-foot-1-inch, 194-pound junior, was a four-star recruit from Newcastle, Oklahoma, where he garnered tremendous amounts of interest from some of the best programs in the country, including Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma.

Thompson quickly emerged as a star in high school, setting an Oklahoma state record with 12,840 yards of offense. Thompson’s recruitment was competitive, largely due to his family ties to the Sooners. Both his father and brother played at Oklahoma.

However, Thompson ultimately decided Austin was the best fit for him and committed in April 2017. Thompson redshirted his freshman year and sat patiently behind Ehlinger, waiting for his opportunity. That opportunity came in the Alamo Bowl against Colorado, where Ehlinger hurt his shoulder just before the end of the first half.

Thompson stepped in and ran the offense like a veteran.

The then-sophomore showcased his skill set at the Alamo Bowl, throwing for 170 yards and four touchdowns. Thompson tied former Texas quarterback Major Applewhite’s school record for touchdown passes in a bowl game — all in less than a half.

Thompson still has plenty to prove, as one great half of football does not equate to guaranteed success. Despite showing out on a national stage, there is no guarantee he’ll be named the starter. However, the talent is there, and if the Alamo Bowl is any indication, the Longhorns might have a star on their hands.

Hudson Card, redshirt freshman:

Hudson Card, a 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound redshirt freshman, was a high four-star recruit from Lake Travis High School, one of the state’s perennial high school football powerhouses. Card had interest from programs all over the country, but he only visited Texas before committing in late May 2018.

In high school, Card had an exceptional junior season at quarterback after converting from receiver, throwing for 3,543 yards and 50 touchdowns while rushing for 619 yards and nine touchdowns.

Card is an elite athlete and pairs his incredible athleticism with exceptional arm strength. Card missed the majority of his senior year of high school with a foot injury but arrived on the Forty Acres in 2020.

Card only completed one pass as a freshman on seven snaps, but his coaches rave about his talent. He is raw but the type of quarterback that would fit into Sarkisian’s offense.

Both quarterbacks have a ton of talent, but choosing a starter will be Sarkisian’s first major decision as the Longhorns’ head coach.