Goldsboro’s Taylor, Howell, Smith Sign National Letters Of Intent

Goldsboro’s Taylor, Howell, Smith Sign National Letters Of Intent

Goldsboro celebrated National Signing Day in style.

The trio of Justin Taylor, Elizabeth Howell, and Alina Smith, who play football, volleyball, and soccer, respectively, each realized a dream that was years in the making.

Taylor, an electric football player on both sides of the ball, confirmed his plan to attend Chowan University.

“It’s a dream I’ve had since I was five years old,” Taylor said. “All the other visits were good, but Chowan had it where it was like ‘boom, this is a family,’ and it was perfect for me. I felt at home.”

“Chowan recruited me to be a defensive back, but whatever they need me to be I’ll do it.

A versatile player, Taylor racked up 546 rushing yards, 201 receiving yards, 64 tackles, two interceptions and seven touchdowns. He did not play running back until his junior year. At first, Taylor was hesitant, but his coaches wanted to get the ball in Taylor’s hands as much as possible.

And it set the stage for his great senior season where Taylor spent time at defensive back, running back, wide receiver,. Taylor also returned punts and kicks, and he helped lead the Cougars to N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A playoffs. 

Taylors plans to major in sports medicine and become a physical trainer after graduating from Chowan.

Goldsboro head football coach Timothy Ray said it was an honor to watch Taylor grow on and off the football field.

“For me, this is special because I’ve known Justin and his family for 10 plus years,” Ray said. “Meeting him at seven or eight years old, I never thought that I’d coach him all four years of high school as his head coach, so it’s a pleasure, and it’s great to see him grow up as a young man and a player.”

“He maximized every moment of his senior year, so really his work ethic, and he leads by example.”

For Howell, the Cougars’ setter this season, the choice was Lenoir Community College.

“It was pretty awesome. I was nervous because it’s a big moment,” Howell said. “LCC actually contacted me, and I already knew the coaches kind of, so that helped a lot.”

Howell, who plans to become a nurse or radiologist technician, was a vital part of a team that went 16-6, won the Neuse Six 2A Conference title, and reached the second round of the playoffs.

She dished out 316 assists to go along with 48 aces and 81 digs.

“She was our only setter, so it was tremendous to see,” Goldsboro head volleyball coach Pam Tart said.

Howell’s stats are even more impressive, considering she spent a reasonable amount of time early in her career as a defensive specialist.

Her skill and work ethic on and off the court would serve her well at the next level.

“She’s always done everything that we’ve asked of her,” Tart added. “I know when she first came in she was doing more DS than she was actually setting.”

“She is definitely one of the greatest kids I’ve coached, and I look forward to watching her.”

Smith, the Cougars’ goalkeeper, chose North Carolina Wesleyan.

“It’s a relief, and I’m just excited that most of my college will be paid for by this, and I’m very excited to see where this takes me,” Smith said. “N.C. Wesleyan found me, and they really hooked me when we went and took the college tour.”

As a freshman, Smith saw a decent amount of time on the soccer pitch.

Her sophomore year was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as a junior, Smith made sure to make the most of her opportunity as the Cougars went 8-4 and had their first winning season since 2017.

And Smith, who intends to major in special education with a focus on elementary school students, has plenty of goals that she still wants to achieve this spring during her final season in a Goldsboro jersey.

“We really want to make a name for Goldsboro High School and get that conference championship,” Smith said.