Jack Howell seems to be all over the field during Valor Christian's football games.
And that is not an illusion.
Howell, a 6-foot, 180-pound junior, plays free safety and wide receiver, returns kickoff and punts and takes some snaps at quarterback for the Eagles. He was a running back last season when he filled in for injured players.
“I just honestly do what the coaches want me to do,” said Howell, who was sixth as a 152-pound wrestler at last season's state tournament. “I pride myself in being a versatile player so I'll play quarterback, receiver, running back and obviously on defense, free safety. Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do it.
“I want to go play college football so I'm sure then I will have to narrow it down. For now, I'm just going to play wherever coach wants me to play. As soon as I end a series on offense or defense, I just have to get my mind focused on what is coming up.”
In the first four games this season, Howell rushed for 237 yards and a 9.1 average per carry, completed his only pass for 10 yards, has 141 yards on kickoff and punt returns and led the team with 30 total tackles.
"Jack is a great athlete. He does whatever role that needs to be filled with his athletic ability. We are lucky to have such a versatile player that is willing to do whatever the team needs to be successful."
Tyler Johnson, Valor Christian director of football operations
Q&A with Howell
What's your favorite pre-game meal?
At Valor they do a great job of feeding us and getting us prepared. Usually we have chicken, rice and some sort of fruit.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
Probably has to be Ed Reed. He was one of the best safeties, if not the best safety to ever play the game. Just watching him, I learned a lot from him.
What would be a perfect performance in your sport?
I want to give it all I've got. As many touchdowns that I can score, hopefully two or three and maybe throw one or two in there. And somewhere around 14 tackles.
What do you like to do away from sports and school?
I'm usually out doing something with my friends. I've got a good friends group and usually we are always competing in something, just hanging out and having fun.
How hard is it to play defense with the rules emphasizing safety?
I know the game is changing a lot and they are trying to protect players. Obviously you have to be more careful about targeting calls and when to let up on a receiver and running back and not be diving in on a pile. It's just being smart.
Which position do you like playing best?
I like them all but probably safety.
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