Sam Howell
refer to caption
Howell in 2022
No. 14 – Washington Commanders
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (2000-09-16) September 16, 2000 (age 23)
Waynesville, North Carolina, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:
College:North Carolina (2019–2021)
NFL Draft:2022 / Round: 5 / Pick: 144
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2023
Passing attempts:631
Passing completions:399
Completion percentage:63.2%
TDINT:22–22
Passing yards:4,115
Passer rating:79.0
Rushing yards:298
Rushing touchdowns:6
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Samuel Duke Howell[1] (born September 16, 2000) is an American football quarterback for the Washington Commanders of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at North Carolina, setting school records for most touchdown passes in a single season (38) as well as career passing yards (10,283) and touchdown passes (92). Howell was selected by the Commanders in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, spending the season as a backup before being named the starter in 2023.

Early years

Howell was born on September 16, 2000, in Waynesville, North Carolina, and grew up in Union County, North Carolina.[2] He attended and played football for Sun Valley High School, where he threw for 13,415 yards and 145 touchdowns while rushing for 3,621 yards and 60 touchdowns.[3]

The second-ranked recruit in North Carolina, Howell originally committed to play college football at Florida State University (FSU) but flipped to the University of North Carolina (UNC) after FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell left the program to pursue other coaching opportunities and Mack Brown was hired as UNC's head coach.[4]

College career

See also: North Carolina Tar Heels football statistical leaders

Freshman

Howell with North Carolina in 2019

Howell enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in January 2019. He became the first true freshman to win the starting quarterback job for the Tar Heels.[5][6] In his debut, he passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening 24-20 victory over South Carolina.[7] Against NC State, Howell threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns in a 41–10 victory.[8]

Howell was named the ACC Rookie of the Year after completing 259 of 422 passes for 3,641 yards with 38 touchdowns, a freshman FBS record.[9][10] His yardage and touchdown totals were also the highest in the conference on the year, earning third-team All-ACC honors in addition.[11] Howell was also named the 2019 Military Bowl MVP after throwing for three touchdowns with a touchdown catch in a 55–13 win over Temple.

Sophomore

Howell was included on watchlists for the Maxwell, Manning, and O'Brien awards prior to his sophomore season.[12] He earned ACC Player of the Week honors after throwing for 443 yards against Virginia.[13] Against Wake Forest two weeks later, Howell threw for 550 yards and 6 touchdowns, both school records, while rushing for another touchdown.[14] Howell would record his second career touchdown catch in a 62–26 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. He would finish the season throwing three touchdowns in the 2021 Orange Bowl in a 41-27 loss to Texas A&M and would earn second-team All-ACC honors in the process.[15] 2020 would be Howell's most successful season as Tar Heel starting quarterback, leading the team to an 8-4 record and a final ranking of 18 in the AP Poll.[16]

Junior

Much like his sophomore year, Howell received significant hype going into his junior campaign, being named to multiple award watchlists, and was also considered one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.[17] Against Georgia State in week two, Howell threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 104 yards and two more scores, becoming the second quarterback in Tar Heel history to throw for over 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game.[18] The following week against Virginia, Howell threw for 307 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for 112 yards, joining Lamar Jackson as the second Power 5 quarterback to post back-to-back games of over 300 passing and 100 rushing yards since 2004.[19]

On the last play of overtime against Pittsburgh, he suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder which caused him to miss the following game against Wofford.[20] He made his return the following week in a 34-30 loss to NC State, throwing for 147 yards, one touchdown, and an interception alongside two rushing touchdowns. He finished the season throwing for 3,056 with 24 touchdowns while rushing for 828 yards with 11 touchdowns. He graduated in December 2021 and announced that he would forgo his remaining college eligibility to enter the 2022 NFL Draft.[21][22] Howell would finish his Tar Heel career throwing for 92 touchdown passes and 10,283 yards, both school records. He threw at least one touchdown pass in every game he played in college.

College statistics

Season Games Passing Rushing Receiving
GP GS Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
2019 13 13 259 422 61.4 3,641 8.6 38 7 160.2 94 35 0.4 1 3 23 7.7 1
2020 12 12 237 348 68.1 3,586 10.3 30 7 179.1 92 146 1.6 5 1 1 1.0 1
2021 12 12 217 347 62.5 3,056 8.8 24 9 154.2 183 828 4.5 11 0 0 0.0 0
Career 37 37 713 1,117 63.8 10,283 9.2 92 23 164.2 369 1,009 2.8 17 4 24 6.0 2

Professional career

Despite predictions of being an early pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Howell would not be selected until the fifth round when he was drafted 144th overall by the Washington Commanders.[23][24] He signed his four-year rookie contract on May 6, 2022.[25]

Howell made his first career start and played in his first career game in Week 18 of the 2022 season after the team had been eliminated from playoff contention. He completed 11-of-19 passes for 169 yards and recorded a passing and rushing touchdown in a 26–6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.[26] He would remain the starting quarterback for the 2023 season, beating out Jacoby Brissett in training camp.[27] In Week 3, Howell threw four interceptions and was sacked nine times in a 37-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills.[28] By mid-November, he led the NFL in passing yards with over 2,700 while on pace to break the single-season sack record by a quarterback, taking 40 in the first seven games.[29][30]

In Week 15 against the Los Angeles Rams, Howell was benched in favor of Brissett in the fourth quarter after only managing to accrue 11 completions out of 26 pass attempts, one touchdown, and one interception.[31] Howell started the following week against the New York Jets, but would be benched for the second, consecutive time in the third quarter after recording 56 yards on 6 pass completions and two interceptions.[32] After Week 16, Howell lead the league in interceptions with seventeen overall.[33][34] On December 27, 2023, he was demoted on the depth chart after head coach Ron Rivera announced that Brissett would be the team's starting quarterback for Week 17.[35] However, Brissett injured his hamstring during practice and was later ruled out prior to Week 17, thrusting Howell back into the starting role.[36] Howell finished the regular season with 3,946 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and a league leading 21 interceptions.[37]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Year Team Games Passing Rushing Sacks Fumbles
GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A Lng TD Int Rtg Att Yds Y/A Lng TD Sck Yds Fum Lost
2022 WAS 1 1 1−0 11 19 57.9 169 8.9 52 1 1 83.0 5 35 7.0 10 1 3 11 0 0
2023 WAS 17 17 4−13 388 612 63.4 3,946 6.4 51 21 21 78.9 48 263 5.5 24 5 65 449 4 2
Career 18 18 5−13 399 631 63.2 4,115 6.5 52 22 22 79.0 53 298 5.6 24 6 68 460 4 2

Personal life

Howell is part Korean; his American grandfather met his Korean grandmother while stationed in Korea in 1960 after the Korean War.[38][39] He has never eaten any beef or seafood, with chicken being the only meat in his diet.[40]

References

  1. ^ @UpandAdamsShow (October 19, 2023). ""It's definitely something I'm not proud of" 😂 A UNC QB with the middle name "Duke"?!?! @heykayadams @Sam7Howell" (Tweet). Retrieved November 11, 2023 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Brugler, Dane. "The Beast: 2022 NFL Draft Guide" (PDF). The Athletic. p. 7. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  3. ^ Moyer, Dakota (January 24, 2019). "Sam Howell Finishes as Highest Ranked UNC QB Recruit Since Bryn Renner". Chapelboro.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  4. ^ Wertz Jr., Langston (December 19, 2018). "Sun Valley QB Sam Howell 'flips' from one ACC school, chooses another". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  5. ^ Adelson, Andrea (August 26, 2019). "UNC to start freshman Howell at quarterback". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  6. ^ Alexander, Jonathan M. (August 26, 2019). "True freshman Howell to start for UNC against South Carolina". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  7. ^ Fowler, Scott (August 31, 2019). "Sam Howell had the best QB debut at Bank of America Stadium since Jake Delhomme". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  8. ^ "UNC defeats NC State 41-10 to become bowl-eligible". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Wilkerson-New, Brant (December 10, 2019). "How Does Sam Howell's Freshman Season Stack Up vs. Heisman Winners, Other Top QBs?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  10. ^ Myerberg, Paul (December 13, 2019). "Sam Howell, Derek Stingley lead USA TODAY Sports freshman All-America team". USA Today. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  11. ^ "Clemson Leads 2019 All-ACC Football Team". TheACC.com. December 3, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  12. ^ Trendel, Avery (July 31, 2020). "Sam Howell named to Manning Award watch list". chapelboro.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  13. ^ Trendel, Avery (November 3, 2020). "Sam Howell, Dyami Brown Earn ACC Player of the Week Honors". chapelboro.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  14. ^ Bumbaca, Chris (November 14, 2020). "Sam Howell goes off for seven total TDs, throws for 550 yards as North Carolina outlasts Wake Forest 59-53". USAToday.com. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  15. ^ "Orange Bowl - Texas A&M vs North Carolina Box Score, January 2, 2021". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  16. ^ "2020 North Carolina Tar Heels Schedule and Results". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  17. ^ Smith, Adam (May 4, 2021). "Early projections put UNC QB Sam Howell among top prospects for 2022 NFL Draft". The Times News. Archived from the original on April 2, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  18. ^ Pearson, Zack (September 11, 2021). "Same Howell makes history against Georgia State". Keeping it Heel. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  19. ^ Bryan Ives [@awaytoworthy] (September 19, 2021). "Power 5 quarterbacks with back-to-back 300+ yard passing and 100+ yard rushing games since at least 2004...Lamar Jackson Sam Howell" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "North Carolina Tar Heels QB Sam Howell out with upper-body injury vs. Wofford". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 20, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  21. ^ Martin, Ross (December 28, 2021). "LOOK: UNC QB Sam Howell Graduates". 247sports.com. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  22. ^ Martin, Ross (January 1, 2022). "UNC QB Sam Howell to Enter 2022 NFL Draft". 247sports.com. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  23. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki (April 30, 2022). "QB Sam Howell – a 'home run' pick – highlights Commanders' Day 3 of NFL draft". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  24. ^ Keim, John (April 30, 2022). "QB Sam Howell calls Washington a 'perfect spot for me' after falling to Commanders in fifth round". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  25. ^ Williams, Charean (May 6, 2022). "Commanders sign four draft choices, including Sam Howell". Pro Football Talk. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  26. ^ Allen, Scott (January 8, 2023). "Four takeaways from the Commanders 26-6 win over the Cowboys. His first NFL pass wascompleted for a touchdown". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  27. ^ Selby, Zach (August 18, 2023). "Sam Howell named Commanders starting quarterback". Commanders.com. Retrieved August 18, 2023.
  28. ^ "Sam Howell throws 4 interceptions and is sacked 9 times in the Commanders' 37-3 loss to the Bills". AP News. September 24, 2023. Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  29. ^ Jensen, Aidan (November 8, 2023). "Sam Howell currently ranks among NFL best in passing yards". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  30. ^ David Smith, Michael (October 23, 2023). "Sam Howell has 40 sacks through seven games, on pace to shatter NFL record". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  31. ^ Finlay, JP (December 17, 2023). "Sam Howell benched as Commanders playoff hopes officially vanish with 28-20 loss to Rams". NBCWashington.com. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  32. ^ Manning, Bryan (December 24, 2023). "Commanders bench Sam Howell for Jacoby Brissett again". USAToday.com. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  33. ^ Keim, John (December 23, 2023). "The case for and against Sam Howell remaining Commanders' QB". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  34. ^ Bumbaca, Chris (December 27, 2023). "Commanders bench Sam Howell, will start Jacoby Brissett at QB vs. 49ers". USAToday.com. Retrieved December 28, 2023.
  35. ^ Selby, Zach (December 27, 2023). "Jacoby Brissett named Commanders' QB for Week 17 vs. 49ers". Commanders.com. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  36. ^ "Commanders QB Jacoby Brissett (hamstring) inactive; Sam Howell to start vs. 49ers". NFL.com. Retrieved December 31, 2023.
  37. ^ Wells, Adam. "Ron Rivera Fired by Commanders After HC Went 26-40-1 in 4 Seasons". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 11, 2024.
  38. ^ Thamel, Pete (August 12, 2021). "On his Last Dance agenda: Carolina QB Sam Howell looks to take down Clemson and lead UNC to CFP". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  39. ^ Lichtenstein, Hannah (May 1, 2023). "Sam Howell reflects on Korean heritage in wake of his grandmother Han's death last season". Commanders.com. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  40. ^ Baer, Jack (May 11, 2022). "Commanders rookie QB Sam Howell will only eat chicken, has never had a burger or steak and is a devoted Catholic". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 12, 2022.