2017 NFL Draft: Who is OJ Howard? 5 things to know about the Alabama tight end

O.J. Howard, out of the University of Alabama, is considered by many to be the top tight end prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, he’s a tight end who can do everything, both as a receiver and as a blocker. Howard will not attend the draft, which begins Thursday in Philadelphia, opting to watch it with friends and family.

Here are five quick things to know about Howard.

1. O.J. Howard committed to Alabama when he was in 10th grade.

Recruited out of Autauga Academy in Prattville, Ala., Howard was considered the top tight end prospect in the nation. He was part of Alabama’s stellar recruiting Class of 2013, which featured six consensus 5-star players: Rueben Foster, Derrick Henry, Jonathan Allen, Robert Foster and A’Shawn Robinson.

2. O.J. Howard’s first roommate at Alabama was Derrick Henry.

Both players were early enrollees, and when asked about the future Heisman Trophy winner, Howard said: “He’s just a freak. He’s my roommate and he scares me sometimes just walking around. I think he’s going to do some crazy things this year. He’s a guy who works really hard. He gets up at night and does push-ups.”

3. O.J. Howard initially wanted to be the next Tony Gonzalez.

Although he wasn’t a basketball player like Gonzalez, who played both sports at Cal, Howard hoped to emulate him at Alabama. “Tony Gonzalez is a class act and a veteran that will be in the Hall of Fame one day. He’s still doing the things right and I have to respect him.” Incidentally, Gonzalez was the 13th-overall selection in the 1997 NFL Draft. Howard might top that.

4. O.J. Howard holds the record for receiving yards in the College Football Playoff title game.

Howard was named the offensive MVP of the CFP Championship Game at the end of the 2015 season, when he had 208 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 receptions. He had 106 yards on 4 catches and a 68-yard touchdown in last season’s rematch.

5. O.J. Howard was voted the Senior Bowl’s top practice player of the week.

Howard was selected by a panel of NFL scouts and Senior Bowls staff members, with Pro Football Focus analysts claiming he “looked smooth and was arguably the best athlete on the field.” Subsequently, his draft stock soared and Howard has been considered a lock for the first round since.

Yardbarker: College Football

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