At the start of this year's college football season, I wasn't all that optimistic. I just knew that COVID-19 would take that away like it did a lot of what we hold dear last year. But alas, we enjoyed a college football season with a few cancellations here and there, but for the most part, universities prioritized health and safety through programs nationwide. When there became a weak point, football shut down - as it should.

What comes with the end of college football - NFL declarations. Our favorite team leaders bid a farewell to the college football landscape for the bigger, and high-paying NFL stage. You can't hate them for it.

As for me, my alma mater is the University of Texas at Austin. I bleed burnt orange through and through, and I'll support that football program through anything. But the news that dropped on Sunday (Jan. 3) shook me a little, then made me sad, then made me proud: The Texas Longhorns' senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger will be bypassing his extra year of eligibility and declaring for the NFL draft.

My heart sank.

But just like the football program and my favorite fans in all of college football, Sam made sure he left his school with his head held high and with a lot of class. Here's the full heartfelt goodbye that he shared on Twitter:


 

Sam always wanted to play for the University of Texas. It was his dream since he was a kid - to play QB1 in burnt orange and leave a legacy. Boy did he do it. According to ESPN, Sam leaves UT ranked second in school history to Colt McCoy in career completions, passing yards, total offense, passing touchdowns and touchdowns responsible for.

The NCAA provided a blanket waiver to all players to return next season without it impacting their years of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But these student athletes do need to make the best decision for their future and I support Sam 100%. With his move out of the starting position, Texas fans will see more of Casey Thompson and Hudson Card working under new head coaching leadership with former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Here's to 2021, and me cheering loudly on NFL draft night for Sam.

Hook Em' forever.

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