AUSTIN (KXAN) — Jake Ehlinger was laid to rest on Wednesday after a “Celebration of Life” funeral service at the Riverbend Church Home for Hope in Austin.
“Jake was always a glass half full guy,” his older brother, Sam, said, according to the Westlake High School athletics twitter account. “All of us might say that we lost him too soon. Jake would’ve said, you got 20 years with me.”
Ehlinger, 20, died on Thursday, May 6. The cause of death has not yet been released. He was a walk-on linebacker for the Longhorns after a standout career at Westlake High School, where he was honorable mention All-State and named the District 25-6A defensive MVP as a senior.
The funeral was open to the public, but cameras weren’t allowed inside, per the family’s request for privacy.
Sam was drafted by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft earlier this month.
“Jake was the middle child who was the glue of his family, with the ability to turn tears into laughter in a moment,” the Ehlinger family said in his obituary.
In the days following his death, teammates, friends and both the UT and Westlake communities have taken to social media to honor their friend.
On Wednesday, the Texas Football account tweeted out an image of Ehlinger’s No. 48 jersey showing his name on the back with the word “Forever” underneath the jersey and above a Longhorn logo. The tweet simply said “48” with an orange heart next to it.
Players and coaches, including former Texas offensive coordinator Tim Beck, now at North Carolina State, retweeted it in a show of support.
Beck expressed his condolences to the Ehlinger family last week in a tweet — “My heart hurts right now for the Ehlingers – I am truly devastated please pray for the family. Love ya Sam.”
Robin Ward, the wife of Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte, tweeted a picture of a basket filled with orange ribbons to be tied on campus in remembrance of Ehlinger. Ward and Del Conte’s oldest daughter is a member of the ZTA sorority that’s putting on the makeshift memorial for the UT campus.
On the day of Ehlinger’s passing, DeMarvion Overshown posted a heartfelt message to his account describing Jake’s personality and how he was never bothered by the large shadow Sam cast as a four-year starting quarterback.
Former Longhorn and ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer, who has risen to national prominence because of his military experience, opinions surrounding social justice issues and role in the Collin Kaepernick protests during the national anthem, sent his love to the family on Thursday.
Senior tight end Cade Brewer, who was roommates with Sam and played at rival Lake Travis in high school, struggled to put how he felt into words and simply offered his prayers to the family.
Former Longhorns quarterback Vince Young posted his condolences to the Ehlinger family on Sunday — “I can’t imagine what you guys are going through, but just know the entire #LonghornNation are here for you and you guys are definitely in our prayers.”
Across the country, rival teams also took to social media to show support to the Texas football family.