Montgomery's Steve Howell is QB to Watch in '02

Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland is coming off a disappointing 3-6 season. But head coach Phil Martin has reason to be optimistic heading into 2002, partly because his club has one of the nation's most promising quarterbacks in Steve Howell. The presence of Howell, who is 6-5, 220, is probably a big reason why the Fighting Knights are listed as a team to watch in the pre-season NJCAA poll.

Coach Martin believes that his young quarterback may be the best to come through Montgomery in the last twenty years. Howell, who is from Indianapolis, Indiana, is a prototypical drop-back passer in the mold of Drew Bledsoe according to Martin. He's also a full qualifier having graduated high school with a 3.5 GPA and 1010 SAT.

We had a chance to interview Howell recently, and here's what he said about team and individual goals for 2002:

Tell us a little bit about your high school career.
I started for three years, but our team didn't do that well. I was second in the state in passing, though, and ended up as part of the South All-Star Team.

What were your senior year stats?
I passed for 2,571 yards and 18 TDs my senior year.

How did you end up at Montgomery? Rockville, Maryland is a long way from Indiana.
I had a couple of small D2 offers (out of high school), but I just got in touch with Coach Martin at Montgomery...and I went out there on a whim. I realized there weren't any programs in my area that were real good. And I've been intrigued by the east coast.

You've been there for a while now. How do you like it?
I like the diversity and being around so many different types of people. It's more ethnically diverse than Indianapolis. Playing at Montgomery has been great.

Describe your first season with the Fighting Knights.
I started out with a sophomore in front of me. I was a little behind at first because I hadn't made it to any summer camps or workouts due to All-Star game commitments. I made my first start versus Georgia Military, which was the fifth game and before that I was rotating quarters with the other guy.

Your first start versus GMC, which ended up the NJCAA Champ. That's a tall order!
I held my own. They brought the house every down, though.

Describe yourself as a quarterback.
I'm more of a classic drop-back passer. In high school we threw the ball up to fifty times a game. But I'm working on my mobility.

Coach Martin says that you'll do some roll outs. Are you doing anything to increase your mobility?
Yes, I'm working with a group called Xtreme Acceleration Group to improve my speed and also Elite Athletic Training Systems. They're helpful with weight training and work out a lot of the Baltimore Ravens.

How would your teammates describe your demeanor on the field?
A vocal leader and I also lead by example.

What are your team and individual goals for 2002? I know you open with a tough Erie C.C. squad.
To win all the football games and have a chance to play for the (NJCAA) National Championship. Personally, I'm looking to improve on my TD to interception ratio. I'd like it to be four to one. I just want to take my team to the end zone every time.

And how are you doing academically at Montgomery?
I'll graduate in December and am a full qualifier.

Coach Martin mentioned a number of four-year schools that have taken an interest in you already. Who is recruiting you at this point?
I unofficially visited Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Kansas. I had a good talk with Coach Snyder at Kansas State, who said they'd be keeping an eye on me. Also, Auburn, Toledo, Maryland, and West Virginia was interested early on.

Which schools seem most interested or serious?
Auburn, Toledo, and Maryland. Also, Kansas State.

NOTE: Coach Martin also mentioned Purdue, Indiana, and Washington State. Those first two schools may receive consideration given that they're in Howell's home state.

Tell us about a few other guys to watch on Montgomery's team next year.
Wide receiver Yusef Young (6-5, 185; Prince Georges Co., Maryland). He's a great wide receiver. A go-to guy. He'll go up over the top and make a play. Also, running back Richard Redwood (5-9, 215; Anne Arundel County, Maryland). He's a straight-up runner who catches the ball really well out of the backfield. It's like having another wide receiver. Good lateral movement. has tabbed Howell as one of its quarterbacks to watch next season. He's got the whole package in terms of academics, quality playing time as a freshmen, stature, and leadership qualities.

Coach Martin added that he's got a young defense, but many sophomores on what could be a dangerous offense. The whole wide receiver corps is between 6-3 and 6-6.

Another player to keep an eye on is 6-1, 280-pound fullback, Carl Clyburn from Fairfax County, Virginia. He has set all kinds of strength records with the team and loves to pancake linebackers and linemen.

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