On Sept. 6, in just his second game of his senior season, California commit Trevor Howard tore his anterior cruciate ligament. His season for Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian was over, meaning the next snap he’d take would be next season, at Memorial Stadium.
“It was the beginning of the fourth quarter,” Howard says. “I was on offense, playing tight end, and a safety came and hit the side of my knee. My femur shifted and rotated, and when it rotated, it snapped my ACL.”
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Howard didn’t think – and, admittedly, hoped, more than thought – that it wasn’t his ACL, but he felt the “shift and pop.”
“I knew something was up, but I didn’t think it was ACL,” Howard says.
Howard was surprised when the doctors told him that it was indeed his ACL that was torn.
“Shock, just shock more than anything,” Howard says. “I was just shocked. I couldn’t really believe it, to be honest.”
Three weeks ago, on Sept. 19, Howard had surgery to replace the torn ACL with a piece of his left patellar tendon.
“I’m up and walking. I’ve started therapy already, and started upper body,” says Howard. “I felt a little weak. The atrophy sets in so quick, so it’s tough to rebuild the muscle, but it’ll come.”
In about another two months, Howard can start jogging.
“Within the next month after that, I’m going to try to get a little more agility-type, football motion stuff,” says Howard. Until then? “Rehab twice a week, and upper body pretty much every day.”
On Saturday, Howard visited Berkeley for the first time >since committing, and he wasn’t alone.
Along with a clutch of other visitors, including commit Austin Aaron, Howard was on the field with one of his mentors – former Bears defensive end Andre Carter -- and several notable NFL alumni, including former Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett, former Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Tarik Glenn and current New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan.
“I saw Andre, and Andre’s my boy,” Howard said. “I’ve known him for a while, and then I saw Cam, too, walking around. I talked to both of them, and Andre’s really cool, of course, and Cam seems pretty cool.”
Jordan – who comes and works out at the new Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance during the offseason – lamented that he didn’t have any of the amenities that came with the center when he was playing. He did help them get built, with his play on the field, but, he smiled, “Man screw that. I still wish I had it then.” When Jordan was told that Howard was a commit, he welcomed the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder with open arms.
“He said, ‘Welcome to the family,’” Howard beams. “It’s surreal.”
That sense of family extends beyond Jordan and the other NFLers in attendance, and Howard has witnessed that, first hand, thanks to the coaching staff.
“We’ve talked very regularly, and they care about me,” Howard says. “I appreciate it.”