Sarkisian praises emerging talent of young QB Ewers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 Texas Spring Game
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AUSTIN, Texas – Freshman Quinn Ewers was named the starting quarterback at Texas because he’s a talent who can “make all the throws,” Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday.

Sarkisian announced last week that Ewers would get the start over Hudson Card in the Sept. 3 season opener against Louisiana-Monroe and presumably a week later against No. 1 Alabama. There’s little reason to project beyond that because Card was the starter for two games last season and then lost the job after a blowout loss to Arkansas.

“I think Quinn provides the ability to make all the throws in our system. I think he’s got playmaking ability. He’s got natural passing ability,” Sarkisian said in his first public comments since announcing the decision. “It was a tough decision.”

What Ewers doesn’t have is much experience. He hasn’t played meaningful football since his junior year of high school.

Ewers was one of the top-rated recruits going into his senior season at Southlake Carroll High School near Dallas in 2021 and enrolled early at Ohio State. But after a season on the bench in Columbus deep down the depth chart, Ewers headed back to his home state.

He arrived in time for spring practice to start a full-blown competition with Card, who wasn’t ready to concede his second chance. Sarkisian announced his decision Friday, a day before the team held its final closed scrimmage of preseason training camp.

“I think they’ve worked well with one another, but they’ve focused on themselves,” Sarkisian said.

Neither player was made available to the media on Monday.

Texas went 5-7 in 2021 in Sarkisian’s first season in Austin. Quarterback Casey Thompson led the Big 12 in passing touchdowns with 24 but transferred to Nebraska.

Sarkisian said he’s expecting some missteps from his freshman quarterback but put that on the coaching staff to work through.

“I’m a realist. We’re going to have some growing pains, but that’s OK. I still think we’re a pretty good football team with key veterans in key spots that can help alleviate that,” Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian would not commit to playing Card at some point in the first game, but he noted Card was needed several times last season and has to be ready to play when called upon.

“There’s going to come a point in our season, whether it’s one play or one drive or one game, or two games, we’re going to need Hudson Card to (win) a championship,” Sarkisian said. “Hudson’s job is to compete, to either make Quinn better or pass him.”

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.