This is likely not a surprise to any Tar Heels fans out there, but soon-to-be sophomore quarterback Sam Howell is a pretty good quarterback. How good? Try setting a true freshman touchdown record good. Despite a complete overall of the UNC football program, Sam Howell was able to come out and fire on all cylinders to get the Heels their first bowl win since 2013. It’s because of this that many analysts have taken notice, including the one we’re here to discuss today.
Sportingnews.com released an article ranking the top 25 college football quarterbacks for 2020. It’s likely not surprising that Trevor Lawrence and an Ohio State quarterback are in the top two spots, but the third-best quarterback on the list is our own Sam Howell.
Here’s what Sportingnews.com writer Bill Bender had to say about Howell:
“Howell set the true freshman record with 38 passing TDs last season, and a full offseason of preparation with offensive coordinator Phil Longo should lead to even better results as a sophomore. Howell had six 300-yard games last season. He is ahead of schedule in what should be a breakout year for the Tar Heels in the ACC Coastal.”
The fact that Howell is already learning these kinds of accolades says a lot about both him as a player and also what Phil Longo has been able to do with this offense. While I personally have been critical of Howell’s usage in the first half of the season in Longo’s system, things only got better and better for a squad that mostly had taped together pieces from the Larry Fedora era. Granted, things didn’t end particularly well in Coastal play, as they closed out division play losing three of their last four, but ending the overall season blowing out Mercer, NC State, and Temple is a great note to end on.
Sam Howell finished out his true freshman season completing 61.4% of his passes for 3,641 yards, 38 TDs, and 7 interceptions. He also scored one touchdown on the ground and one receiving touchdown, which is an even more impressive feat for any quarterback, let alone a freshman. It’s hard to foresee Howell not somehow having an even better sophomore campaign, and it certainly helps that Mack Brown has made sure to surround him with some new weapons. Four-star wide receivers Josh Downs, Tylee Craft, and Ray Rose may find themselves getting some burn right out of the gate, as they will be nice additions to a core that already has Dyami Brown, Beau Corrales, Dazz Newsome, and Ronvatius Groves. In the words of our own Jake Lawrence: “Is that good? That seems good.”
Getting to see the second year of the Mack Brown era is enough of a reason to get excited for the 2020 Carolina football season, but Sam Howell is primed to be the star of the show. What do you think of Howell’s national ranking? Do you think he should be considered for one of the top two spots? Let us know in the comments below.