All along, the presumption was that true freshman Sam Howell would be named the starting quarterback for North Carolina. On Sunday, that was, essentially, made official; head coach Mack Brown named Howell as his first-team quarterback.
Howell, a 4-star recruit, beat out Jace Ruder and Cade Fortin — two redshirt freshmen — for the job. Appearing in three games, Fortin completed 32-of-64 passes for 388 yards last season. Ruder attempted just five passes all season. Both Fortin and Ruder dealt with injuries during camp, too.
True freshman Sam Howell has emerged as leader in North Carolina QB battle w/redshirt freshmen Jace Ruder & Cade Fortin battling for back-up spot
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 18, 2019
Initially a Florida State commit, Howell flipped his commitment to North Carolina last December. A month later, Howell arrived in Chapel Hill as the top commitment in UNC’s 2019 class, Brown’s first since coming back to North Carolina.
Things won’t be easy, either, for Howell. UNC opens up against South Carolina in Charlotte (Aug. 31); a week later, the Tar Heels host the Miami Hurricanes. After that, it’s a Friday night road affair at Wake Forest — followed by a matchup with Appalachian State. Next up after the Mountaineers is Clemson.