Football Newcomer Update: Ricky Howard
AMES, Iowa – Iowa State junior tight end Ricky Howard grew up in Hesperia, Calif. The town of nearly 63,000 is actually in the high desert, east of Los Angeles and just north of San Bernardino. It lies near the San Andreas Fault and Howard has experienced a few tremors in his lifetime. The Cyclone football coaching staff is banking on the 6-5, 250 pounder to make things rumble in Jack Trice Stadium next fall.
Howard was part of a 10-1 team at Hesperia (Calif.) High School his senior season, the third straight campaign in which he started at tight end. He then enrolled at Chaffey College, which is in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. As a freshman, he had 10 catches in his first junior college season, for 164 yards and two touchdowns. That performance earned him second-team all-National Central Conference honors.
It was after that first season that Iowa State came knocking.
“I first talked with (Iowa State assistant) coach (Chris) Ash,” Howard said. “He told me I would fit in well (at ISU). For (Iowa State) to recruit me in the summer before my sophomore season showed they really were interested in me. I knew they were serious about me.”
For Howard, junior college football was a step on his way to NCAA Division I competition in the nation’s premier conference, the Big 12.
“I’m glad I went that route because it provided the preparation I needed,” Howard said. “It makes me appreciate all I have (at Iowa State).”
Howard committed to ISU and got set for a sophomore season at Chaffey. He made 11 catches for 91 yards and two TDs last fall while following the Cyclones from afar.
“The Nebraska game was all over the Internet,” Howard said. “The next morning we saw the video of the celebration and (Iowa State head) coach (Paul) Rhoads getting choked up with the team.”
Howard got a bigger taste of Cyclone football when driving six hours to Tempe, Ariz. to see Iowa State beat Minnesota in the Insight Bowl on New Years Eve.
“I went to a couple of practices and team meetings,” Howard said. “I had several friends and a bunch of the family down there with me.”
Howard is a believer in Rhoads.
“He is 100 percent into the program,” Howard said. “When he came to my house, my parents were blown away by his enthusiasm and what he said he could offer. He has followed through.”
Spring football starts March 23.