While Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for Las Vegas, Kevin Colbert’s taken a trip to North Carolina. Famously one of the most well-travelled GMs during college football season, Tar Heels’ head coach Mack Brown sent out this photo of Colbert attending a recent practice.
Colbert’s there, I’m sure, to watch several players as scouts and GMs settle into this 2021 college football season. But no North Carolina player is drawing attention like QB Sam Howell, potentially one of the top arms in this upcoming draft class.
A junior starting his third year for the team, Howell struggled in the team’s opener against Virginia Tech, throwing three interceptions in a loss. A poor offensive line did him no favors. He bounced back last weekend against Georgia State, going 21/29 for 352 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for over 100 yards and two additional scores. He profiles as an athletic quarterback with a big arm, as shown on this throw Saturday.
This one? Just about 70 air yards, on the money, for a touchdown.
The 2021 QB class is a bit jumbled right now with no defined leader in the clubhouse. We’ve profiled some of the most popular names this summer. Liberty’s Malik Willis, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec (he’s unfortunately suffered a likely season-ending wrist injury), Nevada’s Carson Strong, and of course, UNC’s Howell.
Howell is only a junior and there’s not guarantee he declares after the season. But if he does, he could be on the Steelers’ radar. And Colbert’s at least checking him out. One of many quarterbacks and countless prospects he’ll see this fall, so you don’t want to overreact to any one trip, but this is certainly worth filing away when the Pro Day circuit and draft rolls around next year.