North Carolina quarterback, Sam Howell, was arguably the best true-freshman quarterback last season. Howell is a 6’2, 225 pounder who won the 2019 ACC Freshman Player of the Year. Last year the UNC quarterback threw for 3,641 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions. He also led North Carolina to a near upset win over Clemson last year, falling short 21-20. Sam Howell did a lot in his freshman year, but what does he truly excel at?
Howell is able to throw the ball where only his receivers can get it. He places his passes just over his opponents’ heads with enough touch to connect with his target. Howell stands in the pocket and is able to lead his receivers outside of the numbers. He also has the arm strength and the accuracy to place the ball into tight coverage. Howell had the second most passing TDs in tight coverage last season (via. pff.com). One example of Howell showing off his accuracy over and over again is in week 2, when North Carolina played Miami.
The patience of Howell is key to his game. He is extremely patient. He scans the field in the pocket, and if his first option isn’t open he will look to his second option without panicking. Howell is able to pump fake defenders away from his receivers and stay calm while the defense sends pressure all over him.
Howell’s footwork makes his throws more accurate and smoother. Even when pressured, Howell is able to set his feet and keep a broad frame while throwing the ball. If he has to throw to the left or to the right he still keeps the same footwork and steps into his throws.
Sam Howell could have one of the best years in college football. However the global pandemic could shut down the seasons. North Carolina did not have a great season last year, finishing 7-6, but they currently have the 13th highest ranked incoming recruiting class according to 247sports.com.