Ready to Compete

Charlotte (NC) Olympic wide receiver and NC State commitment Steven Howard will be attending his final combine today as he is looking to solidify a spot on the 2006 Shrine Bowl team. Howard is coming off a stellar performance at the recent NIKE Camp held in Clemson, South Carolina.

"I did good down at Clemson," Steven Howard. "I didn't run or anything like that, but they measured me at 6'2 and 186 pounds. One of the papers had me as one of the top five players to remember from the camp.

"I saw some good players. Greg Little was there, I talked to him some. The quarterback that is suppose to be one of the best around, I think he's going to Clemson, he looked good."

Howard, Little, and Dwight Jones are regarded as the state's top wide receivers, and all three will be at today's invite-only Shrine Bowl combine. Howard is looking forward to the competition, but admits he can't get concerned with how he fares against the other top players.

"I am going to keep working hard and compete at the combine," he said. "I'll do alright... I'm a competitive person.

"I'm not worried about the other guys, I'm just trying to do what I can do on the field. I'm going to keep being me."

He also knows that he will only improve once he gets to Raleigh as his position coach, Dwayne Dixon, is regarded as one of the best in college football.

"Coach Dixon is a good coach," said Howard. "I saw him at the bowl game, and I noticed what he was doing with the receivers. He works hard, and I like that."

Howard committed to NC State after entertaining offers from Wake Forest and Vanderbilt while receiving interest from several other schools. He remains firm in his commitment and is looking forward to helping the Wolfpack win a championship.

"I'm real happy with my decision," he said. "It's the best choice for me. They have a strong defense, and I can't play for a team without a strong defense because that's what wins championships."

Howard previously mentioned that he hopes to enroll early at NC State. Is that still the case?

"It's a plan I'm trying to work on," he said. "My high school hasn't approved it yet, but they are looking into it. I told coach Portee about it, and he said that was a good plan. That's what I'm going to try and do."

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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