The UCLA Bruins found a glimmer of hope in their nightmarish season after routing California 37-7 on Saturday. In their first win of the season, junior wide receiver Theo Howard made two catches for 23 yards.
Throughout his time with the Bruins, Howard put up strong numbers on offense. During his freshman season, he made 12 receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown. Collecting stats was a patient journey for Howard during his first year, Howard only played in eight games. Being self-confident assisted him.
“When I got on campus, I never really said to myself anything like “there’s a chance that I won’t play,’” Howard said. “I came into spring camp really hungry and tried to work as hard as possible … and then finally, in the middle of the season, was able to get in the game.”
The next year, Howard landed 56 catches for 594 yards and scored four touchdowns. Currently, Howard is second on the team in receiving yards with 287, averaging 11.48 yards per catch. The demure veteran makes sure his actions speak louder than his words.
“I’m a quiet guy, I’m always reserved to myself,” he said. “I usually try to lead by example.”
During the Fall 2016 and the Spring 2017 quarters, Howard was on the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll. The athletic department provides resources to the players in order for them to find success.
“You can have a tutor for every class, I usually have tutors for two or three of my classes per quarter,” Howard said. “We’ll have mentors who basically are people who went to UCLA of from different schools who come down and make sure we’re in track with all of our school work.”
Time management also helps Howard maintain good academic standing.
“You get up early in the morning and have practice and then we have a break in between there and that’s when you might need to get some homework and studying done.” Howard said.
Taking an African American Studies allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of his own culture. It ultimately became Howard’s favorite class at UCLA.
“Me being African American, I’ve always known some things about the history of African Americans,” Howard said. “But I learned so much in that class and really enjoyed it.”
In high school, Howard was ranked 32 in California by ESPN and was invited to the Semper Fidelis All-America Bowl. As a senior, he made 60 catches for 959 yards and nine touchdowns. Howard earned several accolades from football, including All-Ventura County Offensive Player of the Year.
Do you know an athlete on honor roll who is a leader at their school? Email [email protected] to nominate your student.