CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- It takes focus in every area of your life to be a superstar quarterback at the FBS level. North Carolina's Sam Howell certainly fits the bill.
Howell is maniacal about film study, takes practice seriously and spends his entire year, in-season or not, trying to improve himself and perfect his craft.
Adherence to a proper diet is another key element of being an elite athlete. Howell is strict in that regard too, but not necessarily because he's trying to take care of his body (of course he is), but much more because he may just be the pickiest eater in college football.
We learned this Wednesday courtesy of the Orange Bowl's virtual luncheon, which featured a taped interview segment with Sam and teammates Jeremiah Gemmel and Javonte Williams.
In the interview, Howell revealed that since childhood, he has only ever eaten chicken. Mostly nuggets and tenders. That's fine for a 4-year old, but so far into adulthood, Howell has seen no need to deviate. He won't get anywhere near seafood and -- read carefully here -- claims to have never had a bite of steak or even so much as a hamburger.
I'm going to say it again slowly. SAM ... HOWELL ... BY CHOICE ... HAS ... NEVER ... HAD ... A ... HAMBURGER ... OR ... BITE ... OF ... STEAK.
I get the reticence about seafood as many people are squeamish around the fruits of the sea (their loss). I'd also understand if this was some sort of moral conviction or healthy eating pursuit. It's not -- he just doesn't want to try anything else and that, to me, is hilarious. What tongue-tingling wonders he is missing. I'm probably safe in extrapolating that he's not one for any kind of international cuisine either. Chicken burritos, maybe.
Gemmel did find a crack in Sam's finicky armor, getting him to admit that he has previously eaten a hotdog. But that's it. Chicken -- and chicken only -- has fueled that slinging right wing of his. On Sundays, after wins, UNC football enjoys what they call "Victory Dinners." While his teammates enjoy lobster, steak and all manner of other delicacies, Howell is happy with his chicken tenders.
There's a whole world of deliciousness out there, Sam!
Hey - if it works for him.