Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard had just one reception in the team’s recent win over the LSU Tigers, but it was a 52-yard touchdown catch. Most of the work on the grab was done after the catch, and it was enough to make him Alabama’s leading receiver for the game. Howard has just 11 total catches on the season, but his last two have gone for touchdowns. This is a sign that the talented true freshman is ready to break out and be an important part of Alabama’s offense down the stretch as well as a key contributor as the Tide tries to win another national championship.
A.J. McCarron has always had reliable tight ends that he could depend on throughout his career, most notably Brad Smelley and Michael Williams. While McCarron has been able to get by just fine this year without a veteran tight end at his disposal the emergence of Howard could give him a dangerous receiving threat to utilize at the tight end position. Since Howard was arguably the best tight end prospect to ever come out of high school, it’s safe to say that McCarron has never had a tight end to throw to that’s as talented as Howard.
It’s taken Howard some time to adjust to college football as the competition he faced in high school was weak and not at all a challenge for a player that already looks the part of a wide receiver-tight end hybrid that’s generally seen playing on Sundays. But Howard has slowly grown more comfortable and seen his playing time increase as the season has moved along. His catch against LSU indicates that he could be ready to break out and become a more meaningful contributor to the Crimson Tide offense late in the season.
With the Iron Bowl, the SEC Championship Game, and a possible return to the BCS Title Game on the horizon for the Crimson Tide, it’s the perfect time to get Howard more involved with the offense. He’s a mismatch waiting to happen, and his one catch against LSU showed what he’s capable of doing on the field. It indicates that he’s ready to make a big impact for the Alabama offense late in the season when it matters most. If Howard does indeed become a bigger part of the Alabama offense in the weeks to come, he would be a factor in the Crimson Tide winning their third straight national championship.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.