Battle to be Longhorns QB the talk of Texas this spring

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 Texas Spring Game
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AUSTIN, Texas – The biggest position battle in the Big 12 is at Texas quarterback.

No position carries more expectations in pursuit of getting the once-proud Longhorns back to the top of the league. And none will be a bigger target of scorn if Texas can’t get there.

That’s a lot of pressure on Hudson Card and Quinn Ewers to win the job and keep it, and on coach Steve Sarkisian to make the right choice for the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 3, and a week later against mighty Alabama.

Spring practice kicked off the program’s reboot after a 5-7 disaster in 2021, and it wrapped up this weekend with an open scrimmage for fans to see what all the fuss is about at quarterback.

Sarkisian gives no hints to who may have the edge, and says fans shouldn’t read anything into who takes the first snap.

“Both guys have played really well, I’ve been impressed with their playmaking ability. When they are taking their shots, they are taking their shots,” Sarkisian said this week.

“Hudson, some of the game management comes naturally to him having been doing it with us. I think Quinn is a very quick study … Both guys have earned a lot of respect from their teammates.”

For Card, it’s a second chance to earn a job that once was his. To do it, he’ll have to fend off the mop-topped hotshot Ewers, a former five-star high school recruit from the Dallas area who barely played during one season at Ohio State before coming home.

The hoopla surrounding Ewers’ return has many Longhorns fans assuming he will win the job.

“He can make all the throws,” Card said. “I believe I can, too.”

Card was the ballyhooed national recruit when he was at nearby Lake Travis, and he used to be the player of legendary throws in Texas practice. So many that he won the job over Casey Thompson to start the 2021 season.

It didn’t last long. A blowout loss at Arkansas left some teammates describing Card as rattled in the huddle, and Sarkisian quickly went to Thompson for the rest of the season. Card barely had a chance to settle into the role when it was taken from him.

But with Thompson at the helm, Texas had its longest losing streak in 65 years. Sarkisian promised an open competition again in 2022.

Ewers arrived from Ohio State. Thompson left for Nebraska. Card says he never considered leaving.

Despite early endorsement deals in Ohio reported at more than $1 million, Ewers played only one snap of football last season as freshman C.J. Stroud led the Buckeyes to an 11-2 record. With little room to move on the Buckeyes’ roster and the wide-open competition in Austin, Ewers saw no reason to stay.

“I grew up always watching the Longhorns play, wanted to be in that burnt orange,” Ewers said. “There was a little obstacle in between, but I ended up here. I’m very thankful for all the opportunities God has given me, and I’m just excited to be back in the home state.”

Ewers didn’t want to say much about why he left Texas in the first place.

“At the end of the day, I ended up where I think I should be,” Ewers said. “And that’s all there is to it.”

Card, whose Texas career pinballed from starter to benchwarmer only to see Sarkisian court another hotshot like Ewers, opted to stay even though he is more than a year away from graduation.

“This is where I’ve always wanted to play. It’s been my dream school,” Card said. “There’ll be competition everywhere, so I decided to give it my best shot.”

Texas fans have already seen the good (two touchdown passes against Louisiana) and bad (a pick-six interception in a loss to Kansas) from Card.

They’ve been told how great Ewers can be and have seen his high school highlights. They’ve also made a celebrity of his foppish head of hair, a cross between a traditional mullet and ’80’s hair band singer.

Ewers seems a little mystified about that, although in the new era of name, image and likeness he could probably strike a deal with barber about getting it cut for cash.

“It’s just hair at the end of the day,” Ewers said.

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.