LaRod Gains NFL Notice

LaRod Stephens-Howling displayed speed and elusiveness during his four seasons as a starter and backup tailback the past four seasons with the Pitt football program, and the Johnstown High School product was hopeful those abilities would help him secure a spot in the NFL this year.

LaRod Stephens-Howling was among about a dozen former Pittsburgh working out for representatives from 30 NFL teams Tuesday during Pitt's Pro Day at the UPMC Sports Complex's indoor field.

"I think I did good, but I tweaked my hamstring during the second 40,'' Stephens-Howling said. "So, I think I could have done a lot better. I was very satisfied with 18 bench reps (225 pounds). So, that was good.

"But as I was telling the scouts, I'm very disappointed that I couldn't do the shuttle and cone drills. Those are my two best things with my quickness. That would've brought it up a little for me, but I think I still did pretty well.''

Stephens-Howling ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds, the fastest time on the day, and his bench press numbers were nearly as many as a couple linemen. So, that was excellent for his size. He's measured at nearly 5-foot-7 and 180 pounds and appeared to be in pretty good shape after workout out intensely since Pitt's season ended.

"It's just non-stop training, and it's solely up to you,'' Stephens-Howling said. "You know what you have to do and what it takes to get there, and you have to work yourself to death until you get there and until you make it.''

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt did everything he could this past season to get more notice for Stephens-Howling, who led Pitt in rushing yardage during his first two seasons before LeSean McCoy came to the Panthers.

"I've coached in college and the NFL, and believe me when I tell you that LaRod can play at the next level,'' Wannstedt said. "He's fast and tough and a good leader. He will do whatever it takes to make a team, and I think he'll do it.''

Stephens-Howling ended his career with nearly 2,000 rushing yards (4.6 per carry) and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 51 passes for 8.7 yards a pop and scored once.

Stephens-Howling was a dangerous return man as well with 22.8 yards per kickoff return and one touchdowns. He even shared punt-returning duties late last season and was on some special teams coverage units.

"I'll have some other private workouts for teams, I think, because I have some business cards and numbers from today to call,'' Stephens-Howling said. "I'll get some workouts set up. They'll bring me out, so I still have a lot of work to do before the draft. So, it'll be all right.''

Stephens-Howling signed on with Mark Lilibridge from the National Sports Agency in St. Louis. He also represents former Pitt player Clint Session, now a starting outside linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, and had former teammate Joe Clermond as well.

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