After weeks of speculation — will he or won’t he? — it appears as though Sam Howell will play in North Carolina’s bowl game. According to ESPN’s David Hale, Howell will play for UNC when the Tar Heels take on South Carolina in the 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl — on Dec. 30 in Charlotte.
— 💫🅰️♈️🆔 (@ADavidHaleJoint) December 6, 2021
During his junior season, Howell has thrown for 2,851 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while completing 62.7 percent of his pass attempts. Howell has also run for 11 touchdown this season, second on UNC’s roster behind Ty Chandler (13).
While dealing with an injury, Howell didn’t play in North Carolina’s home finale; Jacolby Criswell and Drake Maye handled quarterback duties as UNC defeated Wofford 34-14, back on Nov. 20. (It’s exciting that Howell wants to play in the bowl game, although it could be argued that the opportunity cost of Howell playing is lost reps for Criswell and Maye vs. an SEC defense.)
Less than one week later, Howell returned for North Carolina’s rivalry matchup with NC State, which the Tar Heels lost following a miraculous comeback from the Wolfpack.
Howell is one of the best players in recent program history; he’s rewritten the school’s record record as a passer. This will be Howell’s last game in a UNC uniform, assuming he declares for the 2022 NFL Draft.