Photo by Keith Birmingham/Digital First Media/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
Some players just have a knack for making big plays. Theo Howard is one of those players.
Folks, we’re only a couple days away from the return of Oklahoma Sooners Football! For the penultimate installment in our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series, I want to highlight an OU newcomer who’s already established a reputation for himself at the collegiate level. I’m talking about UCLA Bruins grad transfer WR Theo Howard !
Let’s start things off with this incredible one-handed catch Howard made on the sideline against the Utah Utes as a sophomore in 2017.
UCLA’s Theo Howard had an amazing one-handed grab in the @CocaCola Instant Replay. pic.twitter.com/KPZkZFDtNk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 4, 2017
Those who have been around Howard and watched him develop understand that he’s a guy who makes amazing look routine. After arriving to UCLA out of Westlake HS in 2016, it didn’t take long for him to splash on the field. In fact, nothing takes too long for Howard, because what separates him from most receivers is his elite top-end speed. Once he gets behind the defense, all it takes is a well-thrown ball and it’s six.
Funnily enough, the big-play receiver actually played on Owen Field years before he ever suited up for the Sooners. In 2018, the Bruins visited Oklahoma, and although Chip Kelly’s squad was severely outmatched, one of his team’s lone bright spots was Howard. Check him out here (No. 14) as he beats OU’s Tre Brown for a 45-yard bomb.
What a throw, what a catch! Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Theo Howard to set up the TD.
Watch @UCLAFootball on FOX. #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/w3FaPmTJIZ
— UCLA Athletics (@UCLAAthletics) September 8, 2018
If speed is one of Howard’s greatest strengths, his ability to come down with difficult catches is certainly one of his greatest skills. At 6’0, 182 pounds, he’s not going to out-muscle most defensive backs, but his impeccable timing and concentration will render any potential size disadvantage a non-factor more times than not.
What a throw, what a catch! Wilton Speight ➡️ Theo Howard.
Bruins take the 7-3 lead with 7:53 to go in the 1st.
: FOX #BeatSC | #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/7H0aGRykH8
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) November 17, 2018
In his three years on the field at UCLA, Howard hauled in 119 passes for 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns. Four of those catches went for at least 45 yards, including this 70-yard TD reception against the Kansas State Wildcats in the 2017 Cactus Bowl.
Devon Modster @DModster to @theohoward2 Theo Howard for a 70 yard #TouchDown #UCLA #Bruins #CactusBowl #KansasStateVsUCLA pic.twitter.com/2vNCdZrhgr
— @540Jason© (@540Jason) December 27, 2017
After a successful 2018 campaign resulted in an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention for Howard, he unfortunately suffered hand and wrist injuries that kept him sidelined for the majority of the 2019 season. Months later, he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and hit the NCAA Transfer Portal for one last run for college football glory. Of course, as the story goes, his journey ultimately led him to the Palace on the Prairie.
Not only did Howard suffer hand and wrist injuries prior to becoming a Sooner, he also endured an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to sit back and rehab while his new teammates worked toward the 2020 season. The good news is that he not only has fully recovered from all of his past injuries, on Wednesday he was listed on the OU depth chart as a potential starter at the ‘X’ receiver position along with Oklahoma’s other Theo — Theo Wease .
UCLA wide receiver transfer Theo Howard looking good in his recovery from an achilles injury in January.
Howard comes to Norman having recorded 119 receptions, 1,359 yards and 9 touchdowns over a three-year span as a Bruin.#OUDNA | ️: https://t.co/jMy0JHCK9O pic.twitter.com/MDfLopk1DY
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) July 16, 2020
From the reports that have come out of OU’s fall camp, Howard has performed as advertised. If he truly picks up where he left off as a Bruin, he should become one of Spencer Rattler ’s favorite targets, especially when Riley draws it up for him to throw it deep.
Looks like UCLA grad transfer Theo Howard went Jumpman for a TD in the scrimmage.#OUDNA | #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/dfzlPmNIPy
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) August 18, 2020
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