INDIANAPOLIS – To earn a ‘blue card’ on the Colts draft board, it takes quite the strong character impression.
Sam Ehlinger earned such a card in 2021.
Despite playing in the pressure-filled atmosphere of Texas high school football and then starting at quarterback for the University of Texas for four seasons, Ehlinger handled that in a way that had the Colts in a bit of awe.
“You can’t find anybody to say a bad thing about (Ehlinger), as much as you dig,” Colts area scout Anthony Coughlan says.
“He’s just about everything we’re about.”
Whenever the Colts were sharing their thoughts about Ehlinger following the draft they were more often than not speaking to his character.
At quarterback, 10 sets of eyes are locked to you in the huddle.
It’s the most important position in sports.
Leadership is a must and the Colts clearly feel that Ehlinger brings that aspect to the position.
“We got a chance to interview him at the Senior Bowl and really everything lined up with how the school vouched for him,” Coughlan says. “A no-brainer horseshoe fit. Everybody just lights up about the kid. His competitive spirit, work ethic, mental toughness, physical toughness.
“It just kept lining up, what kind of dude he is. You watch him conduct himself on the field and talk to his teammates about him, they’re over the moon about him.
“He’s got the “it” factor. To me, it’s just the physical and mental toughness, the drive when it gets hard. Just find a way to gut it out and win, and he’s done that time after time there.”
One of Coughlan’s up-close looks at Ehlinger came during the intense Red River Shootout this past season.
Down 31-17 with less than 4 minutes to play against rival Oklahoma, Ehlinger led Texas on a comeback, sending the game into overtime.
As you’d guess, Chris Ballard has found himself with even more admiration for how Ehlinger carries himself.
Tragically, Ehlinger’s brother, Jake, died just days after being drafted by the Colts.
During that time, Ballard witnessed incredible strength by Ehlinger, who lost his father as a teenager, too.
It’s not often you have collegiate prospects that leave the draft process making the impression Ehlinger did with the Colts.
That’s a major reason why Indianapolis made that call to Ehlinger in Round 6.
“The biggest thing with him is his poise and instincts under pressure,” assistant director of college scouting Matt Terpening says. “He’s just been clutch for (Texas). And he’s played a ton of football.
“He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he knows how to play the position. The biggest thing about him is he can get out of trouble, get to the edge and make big plays.”
While the Colts are open to seeing if Ehlinger can offer something in a potential dual threat QB type package, they know his makeup will bring something desired.