Record-setting QB Sam Howell says goodbye to UNC, declares for NFL draft

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Sam Howell made official Saturday what long has been expected around the North Carolina football team.

The record-setting junior quarterback confirmed he’s entering the NFL draft, declaring his intention to embark on a professional future, and saying goodbye to the Tar Heels and “the best three years of my life” in a 3½-minute video posted on social media.

“Dear Carolina,” Howell began in the video, seated on a stool atop the midfield logo on the Kenan Stadium field at nighttime, beneath the lights of the empty stadium and framed by the baby blue surroundings in Chapel Hill.

“It’s nearly impossible to condense the greatest three years of my life into a letter,” he said, reading from a piece of paper in the video posted late Saturday afternoon. “So here is my best shot.”

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Sam Howell celebrates after running for a touchdown during North Carolina’s rally past Wake Forest in November.

The 21-year-old Howell’s college career came to an end Thursday with North Carolina’s 38-21 loss to South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. He used one of his often-repeated phrases after the game that day at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, near his hometown of Indian Trail, saying he still had decisions to make on whether to stay in college or pursue the NFL, and he would be praying for guidance.

He’s rated as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL draft class, and projected to be taken before the second round is done. Some NFL evaluators rank Howell as the third-best quarterback prospect in the draft, behind Matt Corral of Ole Miss and Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh. Other analysts have Howell among the top five quarterback prospects, with Malik Willis of Liberty and Carson Strong of Nevada also in the mix. The…


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