Sunday was check-in day for the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and the player everybody was looking forward to hearing from was Sam Howell. The Rivals100 Florida State quarterback commit has been the topic of discussion in many parts of the recruiting world now that Walt Bell, former FSU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is the head coach at UMass. Bell was Howell’s main recruiter and the offense that he ran was one of the biggest things that drew Howell to the Seminoles.
The void at offensive coordinator in Tallahassee has opened the door for other schools to make a legitimate play for Howell. The Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley star explained where his recruitment currently stands.
IN HIS OWN WORDS…
“I’m 100-percent committed to FSU,” Howell said. “I’m waiting to see who they hire as the offensive coordinator. I’m also waiting to see who North Carolina, another school I’m interested in, hires for offensive coordinator. I still plan on signing in the early signing period unless something happens to change that.
“I’ve talked to coach Taggart about a few guys he’s thinking about hiring,” he said. “He hasn’t hired one yet so we’ll see what happens. I’m hoping it will be an offense that fits me and one that I can see myself going into and being successful. I also want to see who the quarterbacks coaches at both schools will be. I’ll check out what quarterbacks they’ve developed in the past. I want to know who will be developing me in college.
“The only other coach that I have a relationship with that was similar to mine and coach Bell’s is coach Drinkwitz at N.C. State,” said Howell. “I’ve been in contact with them a little bit. N.C. State is a stable situation and there is nothing wrong with them. It would be a safe decision for me if it came to that.
“All the coaches are pretty much saying the same thing during these in-home visits,” he said. “Florida State came in and spent a lot of time talking about who they might hire at offensive coordinator. The other schools are just trying to get back in the game and telling me why I should come to their school.
“I know Khafre (Brown, one of UNC’s newest commitments) and I talk to him a bit,” Howell said. “I’m not going to go somewhere just because of their commits. Every school has a lot of good commits. I figured North Carolina would get a lot of commits this weekend. The new staff they have is really good at recruiting. I have a good relationship with the (UNC coaches) that have been recruiting me. Coach Thigpen is still there and I have a good relationship with him. They also hired Dre Bly and he coached me when I was younger. He’s like an uncle to me. He says he’s my black uncle.”
Walt Bell’s departure from Florida State was a major blow to their efforts at keeping Howell in the fold. Both Florida State and North Carolina would be smart to hire an offensive coordinator quickly. That would help the school seize momentum in Howell’s recruitment. In the meantime, the uncertainty is weighing on Howell and his frustration is growing.
If he had to sign his National Letter of Intent today, my money would be on him committing to North Carolina. The comfort level he has in each environment is about the same but he already has a better relationship with more assistant coaches in Chapel Hill than he does in Tallahassee. That trust he has in the UNC coaches seems to give him a little more confidence that they will make sure he is in position to succeed, regardless of what kind of offense they will run or who the offensive coordinator will be.