Earl Campbell: Texas Needs a ‘Talented, Black Quarterback’ to Win

Earl Campbell
Cooper Neill/Getty Images for Houston Sports Awards

Hall of Famer Earl Campbell believes he knows what the University of Texas needs to reclaim its former football glory: A talented, black quarterback.

In a Tuesday interview with the Austin-American Statesman,Campbell said that Texas needs to realize they need a “talented, black quarterback,” to be a championship caliber team.

“Until the University of Texas realizes you have to have a black quarterback, and nothing against Ehlinger, you got to have a talented, black quarterback,” Campbell told the Statesman. “All these schools that are winning, even in the pros, have black quarterbacks. When guys are not open, something can still happen.”

Campbell listed Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, as examples of black quarterbacks who are successful. However, Tagovailoa is not black, he’s a Samoan-American. Campbell also listed Heisman Trophy winner Vince Young, and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett as other examples.

“He reminds me of myself,” Campbell said of Hurts. “He’s a calm individual. He doesn’t get too excited and keeps it all inside. Nick Saban did all he could to kill his motivation. Jalen is one of the most classy individuals I’ve ever seen play sports. It looks like Oklahoma is going to win the Heisman a third year in a row. It looks like he’s not even running, like he’s walking.”

Problems abound with Campbell’s analysis. First, Campbell couches his argument on the idea that a black quarterback would be better able to make a play with his feet when the passing game breaks down. However, current Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who is white, is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in college football. Ehlinger has rushed for 361 yards and five touchdowns through only eight games. Ehlinger can be justifiably criticized on many different grounds, but lack of mobility would definitely seem to be one of the weaker arguments.

In addition to not actually being black, Tagovailoa is not an exceptionally mobile quarterback. Which also makes Campbell’s use of him as an example very strange. In fact, Ehlinger has more rushing yards this season, than Tagovailoa has had in his entire college career.

Campbell’s assertion that “All these schools that are winning, even in the pro’s, have black quarterbacks,” is also demonstrably false. Clemson won last year’s College Football Playoff with Trevor Lawrence, who is white. The Rams and the Patriots went to the Super Bowl last year, neither team had a black starting quarterback.

“For what it’s worth, Joe Burrow – who is white – has the LSU Tigers on top of the college football world at this moment. Tagovailoa, Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Deshaun Watson, Kelly Bryant, Jameis Winston, A.J. McCarron, Cam Newton and Greg McElroy have all been quarterbacks of recent national championship teams,” Fox News reports.

Earl Campbell won the Heisman Trophy at Texas in 1977. He played for the Oilers and Saints during his nine-year NFL Hall of Fame career.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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