North Carolina

UNC’s Larry Fedora helicoptered in for QB Sam Howell. Is Howell solid to Fla. State?

UNC coach Larry Fedora plans to helicopter into Charlotte Friday to recruit Indian Trail Sun Valley QB Sam Howell, a Florida State commit. Howell recently took an unofficial visit to UNC
UNC coach Larry Fedora plans to helicopter into Charlotte Friday to recruit Indian Trail Sun Valley QB Sam Howell, a Florida State commit. Howell recently took an unofficial visit to UNC Langston Wertz Jr.

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora dropped in to see Sun Valley QB Sam Howell play at Charlotte Catholic Friday night.

Fedora landed in a helicopter on the Charlotte Catholic campus Friday, just before the Cougars played Howell and Sun Valley. Catholic won 28-7.

Howell has committed to Florida State, but North Carolina coaches are working hard to convince him to change his mind before the early signing period in December.

The Tar Heels’ chase of Howell really kicked into a gear when Howell took an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill last month with four of his teammates, including sophomore receiver Gavin Blackwell, who recently got an offer from the Tar Heels.

“We went up there and took five kids, me and the quarterback coach,” said Sun Valley offensive coordinator Duke Howell, Sam Howell’s father. “They’ve offered a 2021 receiver, Gavin, and he wanted to go. We’ve got a good relationship with (UNC) and Sam has visited there more than anyone else. But once we took that trip, a lot of schools started calling again.

“Sam has told Florida State he’s 100 percent committed and not really shopping. Sam’s like, ‘nothing’s changed,” but now Carolina is doing what they’re supposed to, recruiting him hard and trying to get into the game if he decides he wants to stay home.”

Fedora was supposed to visit Howell last week for a home game with Monroe Parkwood, but Howell was sick all week with flu-like symptoms. Doctors’ tests came back negative for the flu and Howell showed up at Sun Valley just before the game last week and played.

Howell completed 27-of-34 passes for 398 yards and six touchdowns — including six passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns to Blackwell. Sun Valley won 53-7.

For the season, Howell is 93-of-152 passing for 1.736 yards and 21 touchdowns, while rushing for 651 yards and seven touchdowns on 71 carries this season. And schools are actively trying to jump back into his recruitment.

Duke Howell said his son met with football and baseball coaches in Chapel Hill during his visit, saying that his son could play sports for the Tar Heels.

Duke Howell also said his son is taking one class on campus at Sun Valley and taking three courses at nearby South Piedmont Community College for early college credit.

He said Howell has one official visit planned, to Florida State when the Seminoles host Clemson Oct. 27.

“Sam hasn’t mentioned anything about de-committing at this point,” Duke Howell said, “but there’s still some time before Dec. 19. It’s fair to him to weigh all of his options. He’s got to. .... I know there’s a lot of attention and speculation but right now it’s just standard recruiting (from UNC). They need a 2019 QB and he’s one of the best in the country, and he’s in their backyard. We have a good relationship with the coaches there and we had a great relationship with coach (Gunter) Brewer (now a receivers coach with the Philadelphia Eagles) when he was there.

“They’ll recruit him and at end of the day, Sam’s gotta decide whether he wants to stay home.”

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