Texas 2017 QB commit Sam Ehlinger didn't participate in the Longhorns' premier Under The Lights camp Saturday night inside DKR. But the Austin Westlake product was definitely one of the night's MVPs.

While dozens of top 2017 and 2018 prospects were showing off their talent in front of the Texas coaching staff, Ehlinger was standing on the sideline, spending a lot of time recruiting 2017 DE Taquon Graham, 2017 LB Baron Browning, 2017 TCU commit CB Josh Thompson of Nacogdoches and keeping warm 2017 Texas commits WR Damion Miller and CB Kobe Boyce.


"Taquon and I have competed against each other (in high school), so there's a weird connection when you play against someone and have respect for their skills and want to play with them at the next level," Ehlinger said of Graham. 

"To get him out here was great. My pitch to him was, 'There's nothing better than this. You're standing there with all the coaches and players, watching highlights with the sun going down. It gives you chills thinking about what this place can be if we get the guys we need.'"


Even though Under The Lights didn't start until 6:30 pm CT Saturday night, Ehlinger was on campus at 4:30 pm CT.


"I got here about 4:30 and watched two hours of film with Coach (Sterlin) Gilbert. We went over the offense, and then we went outside (to the UTL camp). It was great stuff. I see myself fitting in really well. The offense is very simple, and I'm looking forward to getting here in January."


Ehlinger said, "Coach Strong does a great job recruiting. He always does a good job of closing in the end, and I think he does it again this year."


Ehlinger said two of his biggest highlights this summer were going to Oregon for the Elite 11 competition at The Opening as well as hanging out in the players' lounge in UT's Moncrief Neuhaus.


"In Oregon, you're just surrounded by great athletes. No one is bad," Ehlinger said. "But those QBs are on fire to show what they can do, so it was great competition."


When he's been in Austin, Ehlinger said he loves hanging with the current players on campus.


"What's been happening in that players' lounge (at Moncrief) is all about team," Ehlinger said. 


"There's nobody who is too cool for school or too cool for the team, which is something you have to have when you're trying to build a dynasty like we are here at Texas."

Ehlinger's Westlake Chaparrals open the season at home against defending 6A Division II state champion Katy, which beat Westlake district rival Lake Travis 34-7 in last year's state title game.

Last year, Ehlinger threw for 34 touchdowns without a single interception during 10 regular-season games - something he said he was looking to do again in 2016.

I jokingly said, "Don't be too hard on yourself if you throw a pick."

Ehlinger smiled and said, "But that would mean I probably made a mistake reading the coverage, and I pride myself on preparing enough to avoid that."

Westlake faces Katy at Chaparral Stadium on Aug. 26. 



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