Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

North Carolina QB Sam Howell gets baptized: 'Best decision I've ever made in my life'

Sam Howell called it “a day I’ll remember forever.” The University of North Carolina quarterback shared on social media on Friday that he got baptized.

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“Choosing to follow Christ has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Howell wrote on Instagram. “God has done so many amazing things in my life and has blessed me in ways I could never imagine.”

 

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A post shared by Sam Howell (@sam7howell)

Howell shared that Jack Hibbs, the senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Church in Chino Hills, California, baptized him, and thanked Hibbs for being instrumental in his walk with Jesus. Along with teammates, fellow competitors and friends of Howell’s, Hibbs also congratulated Howell on the decision on his own Instagram page.

“It was a great honor and joy today to baptize [Sam Howell], starting quarterback for North Carolina and a man who loves Jesus!” Hibbs posted.

Howell, a rising junior for the Tar Heels, regularly uses his social media platform to share about his faith in God. Following a 62-26 win over No. 10 Miami in the regular-season finale, the No. 13 Tar Heels fell to No. 5 Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl, 41-27.

“Win or lose God is always good,” Howell posted on Instagram following the game. “Not the outcome we wanted but I promise you we will be back!”

 

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A post shared by Sam Howell (@sam7howell)

The COVID-19 pandemic caused spring NCAA sports to be canceled in 2020, and prior to the 2020 college football season, there was still uncertainty among players, coaches and others involved about whether there would be a season or what it might look like. Many programs, including UNC, were forced to cancel games due to the pandemic. UNC’s Sept. 19 game against Charlotte was canceled.

Though there were stoppages, cancellations and smaller crowds than usual, teams were able to still play a season. Howell once again used his social media platforms to thank God for that.

“With so much uncertainty in the world, we were able to play a full season thanks to the man above!” Howell posted on Instagram in January. “With God on your side nothing is impossible. So many highs and lows this season but I’m proud of the way our team stayed together and kept fighting until the end. Even with everything going on in the world this team never quit. This year was a challenge for all of us but we are all stronger now because of it. Thank You for another great year! See you next fall.”

 

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Behind a stellar season from Howell, the Tar Heels in 2020 put together one of their best seasons in several years. They went 8-4, and their eight wins were the most for a UNC team since the 2015 squad went 11-3.

Howell finished the season with 3,586 passing yards, the third-highest total in school history. With three touchdown passes in the Orange Bowl game, Howell brought his career total to 68, which are the most in Atlantic Coast Conference history for a sophomore quarterback. The previous record was 66, set by former Clemson star Trevor Lawrence, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Following his junior season, Howell is likely be one of the most sought after quarterbacks in the 2022 draft.

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