The inevitable has happened: UNC’s star quarterback Sam Howell has officially declared for the NFL Draft. Howell announced his decision via his Instagram account this evening, which featured a letter he wrote to not only the UNC program, but the fans as well.
When it comes to program success, Sam Howell is leaving Chapel Hill as one of the best quarterbacks to suit up in Carolina blue. He finished his career throwing 1,117 passes for 10, 283 yards, 92 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions, with a QB rating of 164.2. He didn’t really get his feet under him (no pun intended) in the run game until this season, but he finished with a stat line of 1,009 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He leaves campus holding numerous school records, including most passing yards in a career, most total touchdowns, and most total touchdown passes in a single season.
The big question that Howell faces moving forward is where he will land in the NFL Draft. It goes without saying that this wasn’t the best of seasons for his draft stock, but even with that said he was only six touchdowns short of his passing touchdowns total from his sophomore campaign. Accomplishing what he accomplished with a downgraded wide receiver and running back group, as well as playing behind an offensive line that allowed an extremely high number of sacks, is truly impressive if you are a NFL scout. On the flip side, it does present a bit of a gamble for NFL teams when it comes to whether or not he can make all of the right reads with a much better offense surrounding him. I personally think he will have a successful NFL career as long as the right team drafts him (for the love of God Chicago Bears, just…stay away). We’ll have to see how he performs at the combine.
No matter what anybody’s feelings are in regards to the 2021 season, UNC doesn’t get to three bowl games in a row without Sam Howell. He gave the program everything he had, and would probably give more if the pros weren’t knocking at his front door. Congratulations to Howell on a very impressive Tar Heel career, and best of luck in the NFL.