Sources: Quinn Ewers' return to Texas becoming more likely

The likelihood of star quarterback Quinn Ewers returning to Texas and playing a fourth season of college football has increased exponentially in the past few weeks, sources told ESPN.

Ewers, 20, will make the 21st start of his college career Saturday in the Big 12 title game. Sources told ESPN that the feeling in his camp is increasing that another year of development would best position him for long-term success in the NFL.

A decision on Ewers' intentions for 2024 could come as early as this upcoming week, sources said. Part of his timing is expected to be tied to the NCAA transfer portal, which opens Monday. Ewers' return would be a lure for top stars, especially at wide receiver, to come to Texas and play with him.

Ewers enrolled in college early, choosing Ohio State in 2021 instead of playing his senior year of high school at Southlake Carroll in the Dallas area. Ewers played sparingly behind C.J. Stroud at Ohio State and transferred after the season. He won the starting job at Texas in 2022 but remains short of 25 starts, considered to be a line of demarcation for NFL success for college quarterbacks.

Ewers has put together an outstanding redshirt sophomore season at Texas, leading the Big 12 with 69.8% completion percentage. He led Texas to one of the sport's most impressive wins this season, throwing for 349 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-24 victory at Alabama in September. That game impressed NFL evaluators because of the opponent, venue and stage.

Ewers is averaging 270.9 passing yards per game, which is second in the Big 12. He has thrown for 2,709 yards on the season and has the chance to surpass 3,000 yards against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game Saturday.

He has thrown for 17 touchdowns this season and just five interceptions. Ewers has been slowed by injury, missing two starts after suffering a Grade 2 AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder in late October.

One hint of Ewers' potential return to Texas has popped up online. He is following on social media some of the top players who have declared their intentions for the NCAA transfer portal, including South Carolina wide receiver Juice Wells and Purdue's Deion Burks. He also follows Texas A&M's Evan Stewart, a high-end receiver who would be one of the most coveted players in the portal if he enters.

If Ewers returns in 2024, he would ascend to the top of the 2025 NFL draft class and be in the conversation for the No. 1 pick. He would be expected to have a dozen more starts and could help secure his legacy at Texas by leading the school into its first SEC season.

The 2025 NFL draft class is considered fairly bleak overall by scouts, both in terms of general high-end talent and depth at quarterback. By contrast, the 2024 NFL draft is considered by scouts a once-a-decade class for quarterbacks, as there are two prospects long considered locks to go in the top five -- Caleb Williams of USC and Drake Maye of North Carolina -- and a robust debate over who could be the third quarterback picked.

Ewers had been part of that debate but could exit it if he announces his intentions to return.