Howard: 'I Can Compete Right Away'

Charlotte (NC) Olympic standout wide receiver Steven Howard wanted to make an early decision, and he did just that on Tuesday.

After considering offers from NC State, Wake Forest, and Vanderbilt while attracting heavy interest from Florida, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, East Carolina, and Virginia Tech among others, Howard committed to the Wolfpack.

"I can compete right away at NC State," Steven Howard told Pack Pride. "I really liked them and Florida, but I think being an in-state player would help me play right away at NC State. Mario Williams is about to get drafted real high, and he's an in-state guy. A lot of their best players are from this state.

"That's my hometown, and I'm trying to drive to college. Florida is a long ways away and that ended up being a factor for me."

"I can run great routes. I don't think I have any weaknesses. As a wide receiver, I think I have the total package."

Howard informed the NC State coaches of his decision and believes they are happy that he is going to play his college ball in Raleigh.

"I talked with coach Amato and coach Dick Portee, my recruiting coach," he said. "They were really excited and said they were happy that I committed."

Because he wanted to stay close to home, Howard considered Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, and East Carolina. However, he had his eye on NC State for a long time.

"All the colleges in North Carolina were recruiting me, but I just liked State," he said. "I think it's the best program in North Carolina, and I wanted to play there.

"They have a great defense. You can't just have a strong offense. You've got to have a defense, and they have a defense that can win championships."

When did Howard first realize NC State could be the place for him?

"The first time I got that scholarship, I thought that was where I was going to go," he said. "But all kinds of colleges started sending me stuff everyday, and that's what took me some time to commit."

At 6-foot-3, and 185 pounds, Howard is a tall, physical wide receiver. Playing in a spread offense, Howard caught 43 passes for 642 yards and six touchdowns as a junior, earning a spot on the all-conference team. He is expected to be an integral part of Olympic's high-powered offense in 2006.

"We've been known to throw the ball around here at Olympic, and he's going to have a big year," Olympic head coach Maurice Flowers said. "Steve is a good blocker and he's going to be our big-play guy. All-around, he's a great player."

"I think my strength is my route-running," said Howard. "I can run great routes. I don't think I have any weaknesses. As a wide receiver, I think I have the total package."

Howard is fully qualified with a 3.5 GPA and a satisfactory SAT score.

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