Texas Football: Quinn Ewers’ likely return in 2024 makes UT a contender

Quinn Ewers, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Quinn Ewers, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

A report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Nov. 14 could bring Texas football some good news regarding redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers heading into next offseason. Thamel reported on the morning of Nov. 14 that there have “been early conversations about a potential return to Texas” for Ewers in 2024.

Thamel also reported that there is a “long way to go” before Ewers decides whether to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft. He specifically mentioned it will be “weeks” before Ewers makes his NFL Draft decision for 2024.

Ewers was originally figured to be entering the 2024 NFL Draft after spending two years at Texas. The plan was for freshman quarterback Arch Manning to take the starting job after Ewers left for the NFL next year.

But that plan looks to be changing as Ewers looks to potentially return to Texas for another year of development before taking his talents to the NFL Draft.

A report from Bobby Burton of Inside Texas on Nov. 14 (paid content) stated that Ewers is “expected” to return to Texas for his junior season. Burton reported that there is a “90 percent chance” Ewers returns to Texas next year and that he is “heavily” leaning toward coming back for his junior campaign.

This is a pretty significant shift in Ewers’ plans at Texas after it was figured for at least the last 12 months that he would play on the Forty Acres for two years and then leave for the NFL once he became eligible in 2024. What led to this shift in mindset toward returning to Texas for a third year for Ewers? And why could that move be beneficial to Texas in its first year in the SEC in 2024?

A likely return to Texas football for 2024 for Quinn Ewers would boost the Longhorns’ chances to compete for the SEC title

The primary reason Ewers would return to Texas for the 2024 season is to get another year of development as a starting quarterback. Given his insane arm talent and big frame (6-foot-3 and 210 pounds) that NFL scouts love at the quarterback position, Ewers still has the potential to be a future top-five pick in the draft. Another year in head coach Steve Sarkisian’s system would allow Ewers a third year of progression regarding his pocket presence, footwork, timing, and mechanics.

While Ewers is among the most improved quarterbacks year-over-year in the Power Five this fall, he still has limited tape for NFL scouts, especially compared to the other QBs in this draft class.

That’s another potential factor in Ewers’ decision to return to Texas for another season; this is an extremely deep NFL Draft class in 2024 at quarterback. This is the deepest quarterback class in the draft, at least in the last few years, highlighted by likely top-five picks in USC’s Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye.

It makes sense for Ewers to go into the draft in 2025, given that there isn’t a solidified top group at quarterback early on for that class. There is uncertainty regarding the group of quarterbacks that is currently considered to be at the top of the board at the position in 2025. Clemson’s Cade Klubnik hasn’t lived up to the hype in his first year as a starter with OC Garrett Riley this fall.

Penn State’s Drew Allar hasn’t shown up on the big stage against top opponents yet. And Texas A&M’s Connor Wiegman hasn’t started more than a handful of games in college after he suffered a season-ending injury early this fall.

Ewers is the most proven and experienced starting quarterback of the top group of NFL prospects at the position in the 2025 class. If he boasts solid production and takes another step forward as a starting quarterback during a hypothetical junior campaign at Texas, Ewers could realistically be the top QB on draft boards in the 2025 class.

Ewers’ injury history is a potential concern for NFL scouts

Ewers has not had a fully healthy season as a starting quarterback since early in high school at Southlake Carroll in the DFW Metroplex. He suffered a rib injury during his junior season at Southlake Carroll that caused him to miss some games in 2020. But he played through the injury to lead his team to the state title game as a junior.

Since Ewers reclassified and signed to Ohio State’s 2021 class, he didn’t play much as a young true freshman during the 2021 season.

After transferring to Texas during the 2022 offseason, Ewers suffered an injury in just his second game as the starting quarterback in Week 2 against Alabama. He was unfortunately sidelined after a spectacular start to the game against No. 2 Alabama at home last season.

Ewers missed a few games last season due to the injury he suffered against Alabama. He’s also missed two starts this season after suffering a shoulder injury in the Week 8 win on the road over the Houston Cougars.

If Ewers returns to Texas and has a fully healthy season in 2024 as an all-conference-level starting quarterback, that would answer many questions regarding his injury history.

Texas would have one of the most explosive offenses heading into the SEC in 2024 with Ewers back in the fold

Texas is expected to have a lot of roster turnover next offseason, especially at the skill positions on offense. The Longhorns could lose three or four top wideouts to the NFL Draft, including junior Xavier Worthy, junior Adonai Mitchell, and redshirt senior Jordan Whittington. All-Big 12 junior tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders is also expected to enter the NFL Draft in 2024.

Before the abrupt news this week that Ewers and redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks could return for another season at Texas, the Longhorns looked to have to replace most key pieces on offense at the skill positions. Brooks could be back for another season at Texas since he suffered an unfortunate campaign-ending ACL tear in the win over TCU last weekend.

If Ewers and Brooks are both back for the Longhorns next season, all of a sudden, Texas has one of the scariest offenses in the SEC. Texas returns most of its starters along the offensive line, and plenty of talent remains in the receiving corps with guys ready to step up, such as freshmen Johntay Cook II and DeAndre Moore Jr.

Texas could also get redshirt junior wideout Isaiah Neyor back in 2024 if he doesn’t enter the transfer portal after getting scarce reps in live-game action this fall.

Texas could be a postseason and SEC contender in 2024

Ewers and the Longhorns are in contention for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game and the College Football Playoff in mid-November with a record of 9-1 (6-1 Big 12). If Texas wins its next two games against the Iowa State Cyclones on the road on Nov. 18 and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at home on Nov. 24, it will be in the Big 12 title game in Arlington on Dec. 2.

A hypothetical win in the Big 12 title game would have the Longhorns right there in the conversation for a spot in the Playoff this postseason.

Texas could remain a Playoff contender if Sark and this staff have another successful offseason in the transfer portal and with Ewers and Brooks back at the helm in the backfield in 2024. That personnel coming back would also put the Longhorns a year ahead of schedule regarding its ability to legitimately contend for an SEC title.

Outside of the benefit to Ewers to return for another season at Texas in 2024, another year of development could also be good for Arch. He would come into a good situation with a lot of returning talent at wide receiver and running back in 2025, given the level Texas has recruited at the skill positions in the last few cycles.

Next. 4 key injured Texas players heading into Iowa State in Week 12. dark