The Florida State Seminoles landed a commitment from Monroe (NC) Sun Valley QB Sam Howell Monday. I saw Howell throw over 100 passes in the Adidas 7v7 National Championship this weekend in LA and got to chat with him as well.
Florida State really needed to go out and sign a good QB this recruiting cycle after not landing one in the 2018 transitional class and having some program attrition from previous years. This was made all the more complicated by the fact that, at least early on, the 2019 QB crop nationally looks like the weakest it has been in years.
Howell looked good this weekend. Not transcendent, but upper-tier Power-5 caliber. I won’t tell you he’s a 5-star type simply because he’s now committed to Florida State, but he’s likely the best the Seminoles can do in this down cycle.
Howell is 6’0, and he’s thick. I don’t think he’ll be adding size in college. If anything, he will want to re-shape a bit. He does have a strong arm and a quick release, and seems to know where to go with the ball. He’s also mobile, and defenses are going to have to respect his legs. I think he fits Taggart’s offense well. He’ll need to make strides with his footwork and ability to work from the pocket.
We’ll have a full scouting report from some accomplished coaches later this week.
How FSU beat out Howell’s finalists
So FSU beat out Tennessee, Clemson, and North Carolina. In speaking with Howell, and those around him, I’m able to piece some things together about how it went down.
Offensive coordinator Walt Bell offering him when he did two years ago played a big role in his recruitment. There is no doubt his greatest relationship is with coach Bell. That Bell’s vision meshes with Taggart’s is important.
Howell really liked Tennessee’s coaching staff, but having a defensive head coach offers less certainty than having an offensive head coach who is recruiting a QB to run his system. If an OC leaves under a defensive head coach, the next guy could run anything. If an offensive HC’s OC leaves, you can bet there will be system continuity.
Howell also really liked Clemson, but while no QB is going to come out and say that he is afraid of competition, a quarterback would be an idiot not to consider the depth chart. QB is not a position at which players rotate. Clemson just signed perhaps the most heralded HS QB ever in Trevor Lawrence, and signed a five-star a year before as well. Howell was not going to play early at Clemson barring some sort of injury rash.
And frankly, Florida State is simply a better program than North Carolina, and running a somewhat similar offensive system.
Howell spoke fondly of Florida as well, but Florida already had a relationship with Jalon Jones, the DC-area QB who new head coach Dan Mullen had recruited since he was the head man at Mississippi State.
There shouldn’t be any concern about Howell’s commitment security. A source close to me said he was “99%” going into the weekend. FSU should probably still try to sign two quarterbacks if it can, so we’ll have to see how that process is handled.
I think Howell is going to be good a recruiter for the Seminoles.
He’s laid back, he’s funny, and he’s active on social media. He jumped on with a South Miami 7v7 team this weekend and meshed with them extremely well. He didn’t pitch a fit when the team occasionally lacked chemistry with its new QB who had never played with them. They didn’t look at him as an outsider. Getting Howell to commit before the spring game means he can be in Tallahassee in four days and start putting together the best class possible.