Quarterbacks Talk: Sam Howell
CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina made its three quarterbacks battling for the starting job available following Tuesday’s practice, which was the 11th of fall camp for the Tar Heels.
Jace Ruder, Cade Fortin and Sam Howell have not yet been available for interviews since camp opened until now, and THI was on hand to ask some questions and capture everything they had to say.
Above is Howell's full interview and below are some notes and quotes from what he had to say:
Note: Howell is a true freshman who flipped to UNC in December after being committed to Florida State.
*While Howell’s made a lot of progress since he arrived in Chapel Hill last January, the Monroe, NC, native admitted he struggled at first adjusting to the speed of play at the ACC level. Since spring practice, however, Howell says he’s now fully adapted to the change of pace and is comfortable in the new offense.
“We have a really good defense so I’m getting better going against them every single day,” Howell said. “We’re going against an ACC defense so we practice like it’s a game so I think by the time the South Carolina game’s here I’ll be ready to play…
“I think I’ve come along well. I’m getting used to the speed of the game. When I first got here in the spring, I’ll be honest with you, it was hard. It was a lot faster but over time I’ve gotten used to the speed.”
*Despite the on-going battle for the starting spot, all three quarterbacks spoke about how well they get along on and off the field. This aspect has helped build team chemistry, not only between the quarterback group, but between the offense and team as a whole.
“We can lean on each other,” Howell said. “It’s not a competition like most people would think, it’s a friendly competition. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do what’s best for the team. We all just want to win football games, no matter who’s playing out there.”
*Having to compete against them on a daily basis, Howell knows both Ruder and Fortin’s game better than anybody at this point in fall camp. They were all highly ranked prospects coming out of high school and each have a unique set of skills that they bring to the football field.
Howell has noticed these distinct capabilities each posses but insists they’re all simply trying to prepare for the South Carolina game on Aug. 31 without worrying about who the eventual starter will be.
“I think the other two guys are definitely really good players,” he said. “We all have a lot of strengths, we all are definitely capable of playing the position at this level. They do a lot of good things in practice. We’re all trying to get ready to go.”
*Howell committed to UNC as the No. 2 ranked player in the state of North Carolina’s 2019 class, meaning expectations are high for the 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year as he prepares for his first season as a Tar Heel. The accolades he earned at Sun Valley High School, including North Carolina Offensive Player of the Year by USA Today, the AP and the Charlotte Observer, could understandably bring pressure to a player that is still so extremely young in his career.
Howell doesn’t see it that way, though. He’s simply embracing the opportunity he has in front of him.
“I wouldn’t say it’s stressful,” Howell said. “This is what I love to do, I can’t complain. I’m at a Power 5, Division One football team and I’m competing for the starting quarterback job. It doesn’t get much better than this.”