UT athletics, family mourn passing of Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlinger

Local Sports

AUSTIN (KXAN) — University of Texas officials and family are speaking out after UT student and Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlinger was found dead off campus.

The Austin Police Department said it received a call Thursday at 12:18 p.m. reporting a death on the 1200 block of West 22nd Street. It said the circumstances of the death were not suspicious and identified the person as Jacob McAdams Ehlinger.

Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte gave the following statement:

“Our hearts are truly broken and we are just devastated today to learn of the passing of our Longhorn family member Jake Ehlinger. Jake was an amazing young man from an extraordinary family with such a bright future ahead of him. It’s just such a tragedy that we are all really struggling with. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones and friends, especially the Ehlinger family and our entire football program. Jake’s family — Sam, Jena and Morgen — are such vital parts of our Longhorn family, and we will be here to support them in any and every way we can during this very difficult time. While the sense of pain and loss are deep, our focus at this time is on providing support to Jake’s family, our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, and everyone so greatly impacted by this in our athletics department. We have resources in place and grief counseling available as we help support everyone in our program. With that said, we sincerely hope that everyone will respect their privacy as we deal with this devastating news.”

Chris Del Conte

Jake Ehlinger is the younger brother of former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who was recently drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. In a video posted to the Longhorns’ Twitter account May 1, Jake Ehlinger can be seen in orange celebrating the moment his brother got the call from the Colts.

UT Austin head football coach Steve Sarkisian also gave a statement, saying that words can’t express the depth of sadness at the loss.

“We have an extremely heavy heart with the news of the passing of our beloved teammate, friend and Longhorn family member Jake Ehlinger. Words cannot express the depth of our sadness and the huge void we are feeling, but above all else, our hearts pour out to Sam, Jena, Morgen and the entire Ehlinger family. Jake was a tremendous person and was everything you could ask for in a student-athlete. Being a Longhorn meant everything to him, and he truly embodied all that it means to be one. In the short time we were able to get to know him, he always was a joy to be around and gave everything he had in workouts, meetings, practice and in life. This is a tragedy beyond measure, and as I told the team today, in a time like this all we can do is open our hearts, pull together and do our best to provide love and support to each other, especially to the Ehlinger family.”

Steve Sarkisian

Jake Ehlinger was a preferred walk-on to the Longhorns in 2019. He was listed as a sophomore on the team’s roster. He was not listed on any injury reports this spring. Before that, he played for Westlake High School and helped the team head to back-to-back 6A State semifinal appearances.

Jake and Sam Ehlinger’s father died in 2013 after having a heart attack while swimming in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco.

Ehlinger’s mother, Jennifer, told KXAN there was “not a kinder, more gentle giant ever.”

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