It’s finally official.
After months of speculation and non-stop efforts from both Larry Fedora’s and Mack Brown’s staffs, 4-star quarterback Sam Howell announced today that he has decided to flip his commitment from Florida State to UNC. Immediately after the declaration, Howell signed his National Letter of Intent, making his commitment official.
QB Sam Howell answering media questions after signing with UNC. @UCPS_MonroeNC @AGHoulihan @SVHS_Athletics1 @HeelIllustrated @CarolinaFanPage @UNCBarstool @uncsportsfan pic.twitter.com/ngj9HBcN2U— UCPS Director of Athletics (@skwahder) December 19, 2018
We’ve documented, as best we can, the UNC staff’s efforts to get Howell to flip. In the last month, with FSU’s offensive coordinator/Howell’s primary recruiter Walt Bell taking the head coaching job at Massachusetts and Mack Brown transitioning UNC into a quarterback-friendly Air Raid, the impending flip became clearer and clearer, especially because FSU still hasn’t hired an offensive coordinator (rumors that they’ve zeroed in on Kendal Briles aren’t exactly inspiring).
Howell is a top-100 recruit in his class by anybody’s standards and a consensus four-star quarterback. He’s listed as the #2 player in North Carolina and the #3 pro-style quarterback in the country, according to the 247 Sports Composite. He’s on the short side at 6’1, 220 pounds, but has a cannon for an arm and very good accuracy, consistently popping the ball right into his receivers’ chests. He has good pocket movement and decent mobility with accuracy throwing on the run, but even though he led his team in rushing with nearly 1400 yards his senior season, there’s a reason he’s listed as a pro-style quarterback. His bulky frame allowed him to bulldoze high school defenses, but that won’t work in the ACC. He should be able to pick up cheap yards when they’re available, though, and he’s definitely capable of moving the pocket the way Phil Longo’s system will need him to. Again, he’s mobile even if he’s not a runner, and that works just fine.
This commitment sends a message to the recruiting world at large; it’s by far the biggest splash that Mack Brown and his staff have made since coming and it’s one that will be noticed. He’s local and he’s elite, and hopefully is a building block for further success in the next few years.