Florida State’s losses on the recruiting trail were, in this particular case, a huge gain for Mack Brown as he secured the class’ headliner with the flip and commitment from four-star quarterback Sam Howell. Howell is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound prospect from Monroe, North Carolina, who initially committed to Florida State in April. When former Seminoles offensive coordinator Walt Bell left Tallahassee to become the head coach at UMass, the door opened for the in-state Tar Heels and the returning coach Brown to enter the mix for the top-100 recruit ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the country.
Howell took an official visit to North Carolina over the weekend to meet with offensive coordinator Phil Longo, and on Wednesday, announced his decision during a press conference at his school.
In the last two seasons, the Tar Heels have struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position and fallen behind in in-state recruiting. Howell has blue-chip talent and will have plenty of time to adjust to college life as an early enrollee in January. He ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the state, addressing two big issues for North Carolina football moving forward. Brown said Wednesday afternoon that the commitment of Howell — who he also added “has a little Baker Mayfield” to his playing style — sends a message to the rest of North Carolina that UNC is going to be in the mix for the state’s best players
Brown also revealed a little bit more about his staff and the vision for North Carolina’s offense under the direction of Longo. He told reporters the instructions for Longo were to “score 50 points a game” with a wide-open passing attack and power run game that Brown compared to Oklahoma. That style fits for Howell, who finished his high school career with 13,415 yards and 145 passing touchdowns while also rushing for 3,621 yards and 60 more touchdowns.
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