Colt McCoy had his Texas career abruptly end just as the Longhorns were getting revved up in what would eventually go down as a gut-wrenching loss to Alabama in the 2010 BCS title game. It took almost the entirety of the ensuing decade for the next franchise quarterback in burnt orange to emerge, so Texas shouldn’t be expected to appear on a list of college football’s best programs when it comes to producing NFL quarterbacks.
Nevertheless, Texas checked in at No. 9 on NFL.com’s Pipelines to the Pros series highlighting which college program has earned the right over the last 20 years to be labeled Quarterback U. Measuring a program’s success based on draft picks and a point system to determine the NFL impact of quarterbacks, the Longhorns scored a total of 84 points to edge out N.C. State with only three players accounting for the pro quarterback talent to come out of the Forty Acres in the last two decades: McCoy, Chris Simms and Vince Young.
Of the 49 quarterbacks who contributed to their respective schools ranking among the 10 best quarterback-producing programs in the country over the last two decades, Young’s 52 points made for one of the highest scores. Only Auburn’s Cam Newton (74 points), Stanford’s Andrew Luck (61), Florida State’s Jameis Winston (57), the Fresno State tandem of Derek Carr (57) and David Carr (55) and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford (52.5) have achieved better career scores than Young.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans after racking up a 30-2 record as the starting quarterback for the Longhorns, which included leading Texas to the 2005 national championship, Young was a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Titans. Young won the 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Sporting News in 2009 and posted a 31-17 career record as a starting quarterback through the 2011 season when he appeared in six games (three starts) for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Simms enjoyed his finest professional season in 2005 when he started 10 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who selected him in the third round of the 2003 draft. In leading the Bucs to the franchise’s first playoff appearance since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season, Simms achieved a 6-4 record and set career-high marks for yards passing (2,035), touchdowns passing (10), pass attempts (313) and pass completions (191).
Simms made his final appearance in an NFL game for the Denver Broncos in 2009, playing in only 10 games after a spleen injury early in the 2006 season derailed his career.
McCoy is the lone active Longhorn quarterback in the NFL, carving out a career as one of the league’s top backups. A third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2010, McCoy signed with the New York Giants in the spring after a six-season run with the Washington Redskins.
A 28-game starter in his NFL career, McCoy’s most productive season was with the Browns in 2011 when he started 13 games (4-9 record). McCoy’s 2011 campaign saw him throw for 2,733 yards and 14 touchdowns, both of which are career-high single-season totals.
With McCoy’s career winding down, Texas needs new blood behind center in the NFL. Sam Ehlinger figures to get his chance and while there’s going to be plenty of debate centering around how he projects to the next level, Ehlinger made it clear in December when he confirmed he’d requested feedback from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee regarding his status for the 2020 NFL Draft that he believes in himself and in his potential as an NFL quarterback.
“I’m confident and the fact is that it’s out of my control,” Ehlinger said. “I don’t want to sit up here and start preaching, but I trust in God’s plan and I understand that ultimately, whatever happens, is what’s best for me. That’s the confidence and the calmness that I feel is because I know that everything’s meant to happen and happens for a reason, so I have full trust in His plan.”