“I’d like to say I don’t think about it, but I see it, I hear about it all the time,” Howell said of Heisman Trophy talk. “When you look back at the last few Heisman winners, it’s usually the best player on the best team that wins the trophy. My main goal is to just give my team everything I’ve got, not worry about the Heisman Trophy, not worry about the NFL.”
All that experience has also revealed areas of improvement among several quarterbacks. For King, it was getting better at hitting downfield throws. For Pickett, it was improving his pocket awareness. And for Georgia Tech’s Jeff Sims, it was honing his throwing mechanics to sharpen his accuracy.
The outlier of the league is Duke after Clemson graduate transfer Chase Brice left for Appalachian State after one season. That opens an opportunity for graduate quarterback Gunnar Holmberg, who appeared in seven games in 2018 and 2020 after missing the 2019 season due to a knee injury.
Holmberg is hoping his experience studying the offense and taking practice reps has him ready to follow the lead of former Blue Devils veterans like Anthony Boone, Thomas Sirk and Quentin Harris — all of whom waited their turn for multiple seasons before taking over the offense under coach David Cutcliffe.
“There’s a path that’s been paved before me that I’ve seen with Coach Cut, in just the way those guys walk out and look like they have total understanding and really have the game in their hands,” Holmberg said. “I think it’s something that I look forward to proving myself.”