Sam Howell expected to start for North Carolina

One of the biggest recruiting gut punches that Florida State fans have felt recently came at the hands of none other than North Carolina true freshman quarterback Sam Howell. Howell originally verbally committed to the Seminoles in the spring of 2018, with the hope that he’d be the quarterback of the future under former offensive coordinator Walt Bell. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

The former four-star prospect stuck with his commitment to FSU throughout its worst season in over 40 years and still seemed prime to sign with the ‘Noles despite their issues in 2018. That is, until Bell left for UMass. Bell was the main coach on the staff that Howell had a relationship with and his departure to the northeast effectively ended all chances of the North Carolina native leaving his home state. When the Early Signing Period opened on December 19, Howell decommited from Florida State and signed with the Tar Heels.

While he had a few struggles transitioning to the collegiate level over the spring, Howell has found his rhythm for North Carolina in fall camp and he’s caught new head coach Mack Brown’s eye. The veteran head coach is planning to open the season with the true freshman as his starter.

“We’ve been looking at our quarterback situation very closely,” Brown said according to Inside Carolina. “And we’re concerned about not having enough leadership on offense and one of your true leaders has to be your quarterback. The guys are in a tough spot because all three of them are good enough and all three of them are working hard enough, but Sam Howell will start taking the snaps with the blue team, our first team.”

Howell reportedly beat out redshirt freshmen Jace Ruder, who was once pursued by FSU, and Cade Fortin for the starting job. He was deadly as a dual-threat quarterback during his prep career, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll have the same prowess in his legs at the next level. If Howell can keep improving the consistency on his throws, he could set himself up for a solid true freshman season. The Tar Heels are set to open their 2019 campaign at home against South Carolina on August 31.

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