Deep Dive into the Texas Longhorns' 2021 Quarterback Race: Part I - Casey Thompson
In the world of transfer portals and early draft eligibility, having a four-year starter at quarterback is a luxury.
Having a four-year starter at quarterback the caliber of Sam Ehlinger is an even bigger one.
But even as Texas Longhorn fans count their blessings when it comes to quarterback experience going into 2020, the battle to be Ehlinger's successor isn't just looming heavy on the horizon, in many ways it's already here.
Texas has stacked its quarterback room with high-caliber talent in hopes of avoiding the kind of predicament the team experienced at the position through much of the last decade.
Texas head coach Tom Herman has made it a point to take two capable signal callers in each class, launching a preemptive strike against the kind of quarterback attrition that has become commonplace among depth charts across the country over the past few years.
In this multi-part series, we are taking a good look at each contender for the 2021 quarterback position and it starts with Ehlinger's current understudy Casey Thompson.
Thompson's path to Austin is as unique as you will ever hear. The son of former Oklahoma quarterback Charles Thompson, Casey's older brother Kendal followed in his father's footsteps to Oklahoma. However when it came time for Casey to make his decision, he didn't just break with tradition, he ended up in Austin playing for his father's arch rivals.
After redshirting his true freshman year, Thompson almost left the program at the same time fellow 2018 Texas quarterback signee Cameron Rising transferred to Utah, but stayed after a talk from Tom Herman.
“It was unique, you know, having to re-recruit two guys that, obviously, we didn’t cut their aid, something that we could have done,” Herman said of Rising and Thompson last year. “We wanted them back. We wanted them both back, because we saw a lot of potential in both of them."
Thompson served as Ehlinger's primary backup last season, seeing action in three games. The action was too limited for Longhorn fans to get a real gauge on his abilities, but good progress reports have continued to trickle out of the Texas camp over the past few months.
It appeared Thompson took a major step forward during bowl prep, when younger players are often given more shares of the practice reps.
Herman heaped praise on his backup during the week leading up to the Alamo Bowl.
"We had some guest coaches that were at our practice yesterday and I had one kind of nudge me and say ‘hey, that backup you guys got is pretty dang good,'" Herman said. "'I said ‘yeah he’s really, really talented’ and, you know, when he gets his shot there’s no doubt in any of our minds that he’s got the skill set to be a championship level quarterback here."
If quarterback were a union job and it went strictly by seniority, Thompson would be a lock for the starting role going into 2021, but the Longhorns have been busy recruiting behind him as well.
In the next part of the series, we take a look at true freshman Hudson Card.
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