Jake Ehlinger, a football star and the younger sibling of Sam Ehlinger, was found dead in his home Thursday. Police are currently investigating the cause of death, but say there is nothing immediately suspicious. Now fans are trying to understand what happened.
Police found Jake Ehlinger dead in his home less than a mile away from UT-Austin’s campus. He was in the 1200 block of West 22nd Street when police responded to a call at 12:18 p.m. No information has been released regarding the state Jake was in when police arrived on the scene, and there is no confirmation as to what caused the 20-year-old college athlete’s death.
The University of Taxes linebacker and younger brother to Texas star Sam Ehlinger followed his brother onto the Texas field in 2019, after leaving Westlake High School. He made it as a Longhorn, starting as a walk-on for former coach Tom Herman.
Jake Ehlinger turned down Ivy League schools to play for Texas, in an attempt to honor his late father, Ross Ehlinger who suffered a heart attack in 2013 during a triathlon. His tragic death comes two seasons after Jake Ehlinger stepped off the college field, for reasons currently unknown.
Jake’s older brother, Sam Ehlinger, is a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. He was drafted just five days before his brother’s untimely death. He was the number 2018 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The brothers played together a few times, a memory Sam Ehlinger called “unreal,” explaining that they’d “been dreaming of that our whole lives.”
Texas football commemorated the fallen athlete with a tweet. “Our hearts are broken. We love you, Jake. You’ll be dearly missed, but never forgotten.” The tweet ended with a 48 next to a broken heart, a reference to his college number.
On Saturday, after Sam Ehlinger was drafted by the Colts, the NFL Network aired Jake instead, an accident Sam admitted made him happy. “Jake deserves all the screen time [he] can get,” Sam explained to reporters. It’s likely Sam knew Jake’s football days were over since it’d been over a year since he stepped on the turf.
Miami Dolphins safety Brandon Jones is “devastated” by the news. He tweeted that “I love the Ehlinger family like my own. Rest In Peace Jake. You’ll be missed more than you could imagine. #48.”
Despite feeling at home on the football field, Jake was not following his brother into the NFL. Instead, Jake had other plans, majoring in business at the University of Texas. He was on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll twice during his college career.