Steve Sarkisian has seen some impressive things out of Quinn Ewers. However, Texas’ star quarterback is still growing, and the Longhorns will need him to take another step forward in a pivotal 2024 season.

In his first season with the Longhorns, Ewers appeared in 10 games and threw for over 2,100 yards with 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Some may forget, but due to his reclassification to the class of 2021, Ewers’ first season with Texas would have traditionally been his true freshman season in college.

He took things to the next level in Year 2, throwing for over 3,400 yards with 22 touchdowns while improving his completion percentage from 58.1% to 69%. Ewers also added 5 rushing touchdowns last season.

Now, Sarkisian believes Ewers’ biggest improvement has come via the QB’s leadership. In a conversation with Greg McElroy, Sarkisian said this is undoubtedly Ewers’ team for 2024 and that the QB has earned the trust of the coaching staff.

“I think without question the area that stands out the most is his leadership. This is his team,” claimed Sarkisian. “And Year 1, you’re coming in, you transfer and you’re just trying to figure it out. Year 2, I think he was really ready to step into the role and he was injured against Houston and trying to work his way back.

“This offseason, he is definitely much more vocal, much more command of what we’re doing and has earned our trust quite frankly to get us into and out of some things.”

Even with the loss to Washington in last year’s College Football Playoff, Sarkisian said Ewers had only 1 truly rough quarter in the entire season. Now, the Longhorns are looking from big things out of the QB while many expect Ewers to head to the 2025 NFL Draft.

“He really played efficient football for us last year. I thought he played great down the stretch… and I thought he played really well against Washington,” Sarkisian said. “So I think he’s poised for a great season but the biggest thing we see is the leadership for sure.”

Heisman ceiling for Ewers?

It will be tough to find a QB with more arm talent than Ewers entering the fall. In what has a shot to be a historic season for SEC QBs, Ewers will be among the best and is a likely contender for the Heisman if he stays healthy.

In fact, Ewers has the 2nd-best 2024 Heisman odds this offseason, trailing only fellow SEC QB Carson Beck from Georgia. Alabama’s Jalen Milroe gives the SEC 3 of the top 4 players in those odds.

Ultimately, the race to the Heisman could hinge on the SEC Championship race and which QB can lead his team to a title and a spot in the 12-team Playoff. Barring injury, Ewers is likely to have the numbers worthy of consideration, and Sarkisian has the Longhorns poised to be a contender on their first year in the SEC.

Only Georgia (+200) trumps Texas (+300) in ESPN Bet‘s odds to win the SEC this season. Meanwhile, the Longhorns have the 3rd-best national championship odds at +750 via ESPN Bet, trailing only Georgia (+325) and Ohio State (+350).

With improved leadership and the arm talent to match it, bet against Ewers and Texas at your own risk.