We caught up with Howard following a recent Hoover practice and spoke to him on a variety of subjects, including where things stand with Ohio State.
Greene: Erick, give us a quick recap of last year's amazing season. Howard: "Well, it was a great year for our team and for me personally. We got to go pretty far in the playoffs before losing to a great St. Ignatius team. I rushed for around 2,400 yards and got named Mr. Football in Ohio. That shocked me. I give all the credit to our offensive line and our coaching staff. We had a lot of fun last year."
Greene: You sat out a lot today with a pulled hamstring. How bad is it? Howard: "Actually it happened last Friday (August 7th) at practice. It's not too bad and I kept bugging the coaches to let me do more today, but they said to just cool it. I should be at 100 percent by Wednesday or Thursday. It's no big deal at all and I will be ready for our scrimmage on Friday."
Greene: You seem to be in much better condition than when I saw you last winter. Is that accurate? Howard: "Oh yes, I sure am. I am 5-foot-10 and I weigh 210-pounds right now. My body fat is way down and I'm a lot stronger than I was last year. It should make me a better player this year. I hope to be able to build on last year and do more for our team. I have spent a lot of time in the weight room the past few months."
Greene: What about recruiting? Specifically between you and Ohio State? Howard: "Well, I had a long talk with Jim Tressel a short while ago. He told me if I can get a 20 on the ACT and maintain a 2.4 core GPA, that he will be offering me a scholarship. I already have the 20 on the ACT. I found out about ten days ago and that made me feel great. Right now I have a 2.2 core. I'm planning on getting at least a "B" average in the first nine-week grading period and that will push me into the 2.4 area. Then I just need to build on that. I'm also going to take the ACT again in September because I think I can do better."
Greene: Is it accurate to say that Ohio State is where you want to be? Howard: "Yes sir, that's very accurate. Ohio State is where I want to play college football. There are some other great schools that are recruiting me, but I want to be a Buckeye."
Greene: Should Ohio State offer you a scholarship, would you take it instantly or give it some thought? Howard: "I would take it on the spot, probably after crying a little bit, you know? That's where I want to be, so why wouldn't I take it on the spot?"
Greene: It sounds like Ohio State has laid out a road map for you to receive an offer. Is it safe to say that it's all up to Erick Howard? Howard: "Yes sir. It's all on me. I know what I need to do and I plan on doing it. If things don't get done it will be all my fault, but I don't plan on failing."
Greene: Can you possibly come close to putting up the numbers you did last year? Howard: "Actually, I think I can do even better. I'm in better condition and I'm stronger physically. Last year I moved to Washington in July and missed all of two-a-day practices. We are also going to have a much better passing attack this year, so teams won't be able to put nine in the box. I think things will be more open for me to have room to run. I just want to win."
Greene: You play for one of the top coaches in Ohio in Don Hertler. Describe your relationship with him. Howard: "We have a great relationship today, considering how we started. We did not talk at all and we butted heads all the time at one point. I needed to grow up and accept the fact that he only wanted what's best for me. We ended up living together after my mom moved to Washington, and we have bonded into a great relationship. I think the world of him and his whole family."
Greene: As you look into your crystal ball, will Erick Howard be signing a letter of intent to play football at Ohio State next February? Howard: "If things go the way I want them to, that answer is "Yes."