CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte's reputation as a recruiting hotbed for some of the country’s top college football programs continues to grow.
Sun Valley’s Sam Howell is considered by recruiting services as a top five quarterback in the country for the Class of 2019.
“Missouri, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, NC State, North Carolina, Duke…” Howell said.
He has 14 offers in all, but more are sure to come. Howell is just getting ready to start his junior year.
“It’s kind of stressful, because at some point you know you’re going to have to make a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life,” Howell said. “So I just try to enjoy it for now, and just try to have some fun with it.”
“He walks in, and people know there’s somebody different in the room,” Sun Valley Coach Tad Baucom said. “Now, does he look 25 years old? Yes. That’s part of it. But he’s got that charisma about him.”
Charisma and talent. A lot like his favorite player.
“Recently, it’s been Deshaun Watson,” Howell said. “I try to model myself off of everything he does. Even off the field, he’s a good guy. I try to be like Deshaun.”
Former South Carolina All-American Kelcy Quarles stopped by practice Wednesday. When it was over, he was left wondering why his Gamecocks haven’t extended Howell an offer.
“I think they missed out,” Quarles said. “They missed out on this one. They missed out on this one real bad. He’s got a cannon.”
But it was a simple act before practice that impressed Quarles the most.
“ He came out here carrying the balls,” Quarles said. “You’re going to a division one school. Get one of these ninth-graders to carry the balls. But this dude came out here carrying the balls. You can’t do nothing but respect that. I respect it.”
Individually, Howell wants to break the state passing records held by former Independence star Chris Leak, but more importantly he has a specific team goal in mind.
“All I want to do is bring a state championship back to Sun Valley,” Howell said.