Arkansas State continued reloading on the defensive side of the ball this weekend after receiving a commitment from a 6’2” 275 pound defensive lineman mauler in Christian Howard (@We_Prankin). Howard, a defensive end/ defensive tackle from Independence Community College will be huge boost for the Red Wolves in the pass rush department. He should arrive on campus after the Fall of 2016 season.
Howard is the type of defensive lineman that can get off the ball quickly and shoot the gaps against bigger players on the offensive line. He is a 3* defensive lineman who is continuing the trend of high quality lineman who are choosing Arkansas State.
Howard chose to commit because of the strong relationship he has developed with defensive line coach Brian Early. Howard is comfortable with his decision and knows he committed to the right place after how the coaches have continued recruiting him even after the original scholarship offer was given to him.
Howard has a relentless motor and fights on every snap. He blows up offensive lines and doesn’t stop until the play is over. He has long arms and the strength to reach out, grabs on, and won’t let go. He’s tenacious in the way he takes people down with violence and the will to not allow an extra yard.
Howard has been known to get in the backfield before the quarterback/running back exchange and absolutely destroy quarterbacks who don’t have time to get plays off.
Howard is also strong enough to shed blocks. He’ll engage offensive lineman, diagnose the play, and shed the block to free himself to take down the ball carrier at any point on the field.
You could line Howard up just about anywhere on the line, but he seems most comfortable on the outside where he can split the offensive tackle and guard. He has a sense of when the ball will be snapped and is so quick on the snap he’ll appear offside on nearly every play, but closer looks show he has impeccable timing.
Howard is so fierce breaking through lines that often you’ll see offensive lineman hanging all over his back trying to catch up to him. He doesn’t stop no matter where the ball is on the field. If the play goes opposite of him you won’t see him walking to the other side of the field, but going full speed just looking to hit someone as hard as he can.
He’s not fooled easily on plays and can diagnose read options so that he’s not going one way while the play is going another way. He has great vision and the speed to catch up no matter the direction the ball carrier goes.
Where does he fit? You could place him just about anywhere on the line, but I can envision him in the same mold as we are currently going to use Dee Liner and Jake Swalley. He can stuff the run, but he’s best when he’s allowed to blow up lines and be disruptive in the backfield.
If he’s used in the 3 technique and allowed to rush the quarterback then that is where the best results will come from Howard. He could kick outside on passing downs if needed, but he’s so much faster than interior lineman that it’s almost going to be unfair when he steps on the field. The Red Wolves are creating pack after pack of Red Wolves that are ready to hunt, and Howard is another member of what is going to be such a dominant piece to this defense.