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Heel Tough Blog: British Brooks Returning and Update on Howell and Bowl Opt-Outs

Grant Halverson- Getty Images

Mack Brown met with the media for the first time since the postgame of the NC State loss on Wednesday as he previewed the Duke’s Mayo Bowl matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Brown talked a lot about the matchup with Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks and the changes that are happening throughout college football in the coaching carousel. We take a look at some of the significant notes that came out of this media availability.

Sam Howell Has Yet to Make an Official Decision

Brown was pretty vague about the plans of his star junior quarterback on Monday, but he did say that, as of right now, Howell has yet to make an official decision on his future. When asked about him again later in the presser, Brown said that he, along with some of the other players on the team, are currently exploring their NFL Draft stock and said that the staff has encouraged them to go pro if they are given first round grades. It looks like Howell may be waiting until after the bowl game to make his decision, a move that could allow him to impress scouts one last time to potentially help improve his stock before he makes his decision.

British Brooks Returning for 2022

Brooks is coming off back to back career performances to close out this 2021 regular season and on Wednesday it was announced that he will be returning to build on that finish next season. Mack Brown said on Wednesday that this is helpful both from a leadership and personeel standpoint. “He’s a tremendous leader,” said Brown. “I think he can be a force in that running back room moving forward and like Ty Chandler came in from Tennessee last year, I think British will be that guy.” If Brooks can even have half the impact that Chandler did this season, that would be huge, and the last two games have shown there is some talent there.

No One Sitting Out the Bowl Game As of Now

The Tar Heels were without four major contributors in the bowl game last year, but that will not be the case for the Tar Heels later on this month as of right now. Brown said Wednesday that as of right now, no one has told the staff that they will be sitting out December 30th’s game, meaning the team should be at full strength as they look to pick up that first win of the season away from Kenan Stadium. Brown did say, though, that the team did have a late opt out last year and that is definitely something worth keeping in mind.


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