- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
O.J. Howard grew up an Auburn fan. The Prattville, Ala., native wore his Cam Newton jersey all through 2010 and even into 2011. That was, until the day he committed to the University of Alabama in July. Since that day, he’s changed his allegiance, and is now a full-fledged Crimson Tide fan.
Even though the Auburn coaches are still making a push for him, Howard is firm with his commitment to Bama, and he has even become a recruiter for the Tide, trying to lure prospects for the 2013 class.
At 6-foot-5, 221 pounds, Howard has the ability to play any position on the field. In fact, he played just about every position last year for Autauga Academy as he helped lead the Generals to the state title game.
The UA coaching staff likes him at tight end, and Howard feels that may be the best position to help get him to the next level one day.
Howard talked with TideNation about his commitment, his Auburn roots and what position he wants to play at UA.
TN: You committed to Alabama back in July. Why Alabama and why did you want to go ahead and get it behind you?
OH: The reason I chose Alabama was because my heart was with them the whole time. It felt home to me, and my heart was with them. If you’re ready to make a decision and you know that it’s right for you in your heart, and if you sat down, prayed about it and thought about it for long enough, you want to go ahead and make the decision. You don’t want to hold anything back. You want to go ahead and get it out of the way and take the pressure off yourself.
TN: You grew up an Auburn fan. Was it tough for you to choose Alabama?
OH: I was an Auburn fan for a long time, like you said. It was kind of tough to change, but when it comes down to recruiting, I feel like Alabama is the best. Sometimes, you have to let things go and make the right decision for you, and that’s what happened.
TN: You just played about everywhere for Autauga Academy last year. What position do you like to play the best and what position do you want to play when you get to Alabama?
OH: The position I like to play the best at my school would probably be quarterback because you feel like the leader out on the field and the game is in your hands. You control the tempo of the game. But that probably won’t be possible at Alabama. One of my favorite positions to play right now is tight end or wide receiver. Tight end is probably going to be the best fit for me at Alabama, so I’m really looking forward to playing that.
TN: Is tight end the best position for you to potentially make the pros?
OH: Yeah, Alabama really wants to help you get to the next level if that’s possible, and tight end is probably the best spot for me at the next level -- a Rob Gronkowski type of guy. I like the way he plays.
TN: What’s it feel like to know your committed to the national champions and are you excited to get there and win one of your own?
OH: It feels great, the tradition and all, but like you said, I’m ready to get there and start winning one of my own. My freshman year will be a really good shot at winning it, so I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully, I can play a major role in that championship.