Carolina Football’s Sam Howell has been named ACC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday. Howell is the first Carolina player to win Rookie of the Year since Dre’ Bly did so in 1996 and the first Tar Heel to be named Offensive Rookie of the Year since the award was introduced in 2007.
Howell jumped onto the scene as the first true freshman to start a season opener in Carolina football history. He finished the year completing 234 passes on 388 attempts (60.2%) for 3,347 yards and 35 TDs with only seven INTs. The 234 completions, 388 attempts, 3,347 passing yards and 35 TDs are all UNC freshman records. The 234 completions are tied for sixth on UNC’s single-season list, while the 388 attempts also rank sixth. The 3,347 passing yards rank fourth on the single-season list and already have Howell at 14th on the career chart. His 35 TD passes are a single-season school record. Howell’s touchdown-interception ratio of plus 28 (35-7) is the best in UNC history, bettering Mitch Trubisky, who was plus 24 (30/6) in 2016.
The 35 TD passes are the most by a true freshman in FBS history, are the second most by a freshman (true or redshirt) in ACC history, are tied for fourth on the ACC’s single-season chart, and rank fourth nationally. Howell has thrown multiple touchdowns 12 times to begin his career, tying Ohio State’s Justin Fields for the longest active streak in the FBS. He has also thrown at least three TD passes in seven games this season.
Howell’s 3,347 passing yards are the most in the ACC and rank 12th nationally. They are also the most by a true freshman in ACC history. He leads the ACC in completions of 10+ yards (141), 20+ yards (53), 30+ yards (28), 40+ yards (17) and 50+ yards (8).
Howell joined James Winston as the only ACC QBs in the last 15 years to throw 35+ TDs (35), throw 10 or fewer INTs (7), throw for 3,000 yards (3,347), average eight yards per attempt (8.6), and complete 60% of the passes (60.3). He is one of just three QBs nationally (Joe Burrow, LSU; Justin Fields, Ohio State) to throw 35+ TDs with seven INTs or fewer and one of just two QBs (Joe Burrow, LSU) to throw for 3,000 yards, 35 TDs and seven INTs or fewer.