411OnTheForty: Sam Ehlinger named Jason Witten Man of the Year finalist

22 Dec By
Ehlinger Hookem After Touchdown
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is one of three finalists for the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — For his leadership and dedication both on and off the field, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger became the first Longhorn to be selected as a finalist for the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award, the Witten Award selection committee announced Thursday.

The senior quarterback has ranked either first or second in the Big 12 this season in seven categories, including passing touchdowns (25) and passing efficiency (149.9). The 25 passing touchdowns rank seventh in a school history for a single season, and make him only the fifth Big 12 quarterback in the last two decades to throw for 25 or more touchdowns in each of three consecutive seasons.

The award recognizes a player's on-field accomplishments and his off-the-field impact, including his performance in the classroom. Ehlinger, a business major, is a two-time All-Big 12 Academic First Team honoree. He also received press this summer when he raised nearly $200,000 to assist charities offering relief during Covid-19.

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Named after the former Tennessee tight end, the award has been around since 2018 and honors a player "who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field."

The recipient of the award will be announced Feb. 18 at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. Twitter: @ZayasRiley