By Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | February 6, 2019 4:48 pm ET
The Ehlinger family’s ties to Austin and the University of Texas run deep. The late patriarch of the clan, Ross Ehlinger, was a Texas alum and ardent fan. Sam, the family’s oldest sibling, says he feels like he was born to be the quarterback at Texas. After a year in which he led the Longhorns to a top-10 finish and Sugar Bowl victory, he might be right.
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So perhaps it’s only fitting that Ehlinger’s younger brother, Westlake High School (Austin, Texas) linebacker Jake Ehlinger, would join him on the 40 Acres. It’s just the manner in which that happened that could be a touch surprising.
Unlike his older brother, who was a 4-star quarterback and Elite 11 competitor, Jake Ehlinger isn’t a nationally sought-after recruit. The 6-foot, 205-pound linebacker had an exceptional senior season at Westlake, but never quite gained enough attention or recognition to draw any Power 5 scholarship offers.
VIDEO: Jena Ehlinger on how proud Sam and Jake's late father would be seeing both of them in burnt orange. Jake signed with Texas today as a PWO.
— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) February 6, 2019
What he did get, however, was attention from the Ivy Leagues. There’s plenty of good reason for that: While he is a tough undersized to be a Big XII linebacker, Ehlinger is just about right to thrive at a competitive FCS program like Pennsylvania, which heavily recruited him. He’s also smart, like his brother.
Yet, as alluring as an Ivy League education must have been for the younger Ehlinger, the opportunity to play and practice alongside his brother was too strong to pass up, even if the Longhorns were only interested in adding Jake Ehlinger as a preferred walk-on.
He won’t earn a free ride on scholarship, but the younger Ehlinger’s decision to play and attend school at Texas was still a major reason for celebration for the tight-knit Ehlinger family on Wednesday, with brother Sam heading over from campus to be a part of the signing ceremony.
“I’m so proud of the way he’s worked for his whole life for this moment,” Sam Ehlinger said of his brother. “I’m really glad that he just signed his life away to us, so we can get our hands on him. It’s going to be a lot of fun to have him on the team.”
Added the Ehlinger brothers’ mother, Jena Ehlinger: “I can assure you, there is a huge Longhorn party in Heaven right now.”