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.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.