Summer 2024

UNC QB Sam Howell declares for NFL draft: '[Life is] about living for Jesus and trying to be more like Him'

On Saturday, two days after North Carolina’s 38-21 loss to South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, Tar Heels junior quarterback Sam Howell posted a video on social media stating he would forego his senior season in Chapel Hill and declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.

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“I’m excited to announce that I’ll be entering the 2022 NFL Draft,” Howell said at the conclusion of the video. “I’ll forever be grateful for my time here at Carolina and for all the people who made it so special. Chapel Hill will always hold a special place in my heart. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m hopeful and I know whatever it may be, it’ll be good. God bless.”

Howell captioned the video by quoting the Bible verses Proverbs 3:5-6 and spoke extensively about his faith in Jesus.

“Being in the position I’m in today is because of all the amazing people God has placed in my life,” Howell said, expressing gratitude to God as well as his family, coaches, teammates, fans and others whom he’s met in college.

“I want to start by thanking God for the ability to play football, especially at a place like this. There are so many things I could be doing in this world, but thanks to God, I get to do what I love.”

He continued later, “Chapel Hill is also the place I developed a real relationship with Jesus. As undeserving as I was, He met me here, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

“I’ve learned that life is not about me, it’s not about breaking records and it’s not even about winning the big game. It’s about living for Jesus and trying to be more like Him each and every day. Scripture tells us that when we acknowledge God in all our ways, He will direct our path.”

Howell wears a wristband on each arm with hand-drawn crosses on them during games, and thanks God and prays for safety before each one. He also regularly speaks about his faith in Christ, giving God the glory after big wins and after tough losses. Isaiah 41:10 is referenced in his Twitter bio and social media posts about God fill his social media pages.


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A post shared by Sam Howell (@sam7howell)

Most notably, Howell posted pictures of his baptism on Instagram last July. His caption said in part, “Choosing to follow Christ has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. 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 is a native of Indian Trail, North Carolina, a Charlotte suburb and roughly 30 minutes from Bank of America Stadium where the Duke’s Mayo Bowl was played. Howell began his North Carolina career in 2019 by beating South Carolina on the very same field in the first game of his freshman season.

Howell led the Tar Heels to a 7-6 record as a freshman after the program won only five games combined in the previous two seasons. Last year, North Carolina went 8-4 and earned an Orange Bowl berth. North Carolina began the 2021 season as a top-10 team and Howell was a dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate, but the Tar Heels went 6-7 and Howell posted his fewest completions, yards and touchdowns.

Still, Howell is perhaps the greatest quarterback in North Carolina history. He holds 21 program records despite only playing three seasons, including passing yards (10,283), passing touchdowns (92) and total touchdowns (111). He ranks fifth all-time in passing yards in ACC history and also emerged as a dual-threat quarterback this season, rushing for 828 yards on 183 attempts with 11 scores.

Howell is considered a top-5 quarterback prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft, and expected to be selected before the end of the second round. The draft will be held at Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders, on April 28-30.

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