Last week the Alabama football machine added 25 new cogs and some of the incoming freshman are already on campus and ready to make immediate contributions.
One freshman Tide fans are excited to watch next season is O.J. Howard. The 6-foot-6 frosh from Prattville, Alabama was widely regarded as the top tight end prospect in the country by the various recruiting services.
The balanced attack the Crimson Tide employs is prefect to to utilize Howard’s skills. A tight end who is as dangerous a receiving threat as Howard should be should be able to take advantage of defenses that have to use a safety to help cover Amari Cooper. Howard is big enough to fight off linebackers attempting to cover him, but also possesses great athleticism so he should be able to fight off safeties as well.
Conversely, if defenses commit extra personnel to stopping the Alabama rushing attack, Howard will be able to rack up catches in the 5- to 15-yard range. It is those short- and medium-length catches that convert third downs and keep drives going.
A potential weapon like O.J. Howard can help to wear down defenses so they break in the fourth quarter, as well as becoming a security blanket if AJ McCarron is not in synch with the wideouts.
As Howard’s blocking skills develop and he spends some quality time with Scott Cochran in Alabama’s new conditioning temple, he should be a tremendous asset in the running game as well.
In recent years the Tide has benefited from underrated but productive tight ends like Colin Peek and Michael Williams. O.J. Howard has the opportunity to not only continue their legacy, but grow into a serious weapon that any offense in the country would want to have.