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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jacorey Howard delivers huge season for Mustangs in 2018

Head football coach Hank Semler congratulates Aldine High School running back Jacorey Howard after being named the 2018 Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year. It marked the second straight year that Howard won the award. He and former MacArthur High School star quarterback Odell James is the only other two-time NE News Offensive Player of the Year.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Jacorey Howard had a season to remember in 2018.

It was a tough one for the Aldine Mustangs, but the senior running back kept things interesting by rushing for 1,417 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry and scoring 13 touchdowns. He also added 101 passing yards for a total yardage on the season of 1,517 yards.

Not bad for a kid who missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.

For his effort, Howard was named the 2018 Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year. He also won the award after the 2017 season when he played quarterback for Hank Semler’s team. Howard and former MacArthur High School star quarterback Odell James are the only two-time winners of the award.

On Dec. 19, Howard signed a national letter of intent with Texas Southern University.

He also had offers from Rice, Lamar and Northern Iowa.

“TSU has a great medical program and I want to be an occupational therapist,” Howard said of his decision to stay close to home to play his college ball.

When asked how he thought his senior season went, Howard said he was happy with it.

“It was great,” he said. “I couldn’t finish the last two games because I had a sprained ankle, so that was sort of disappointing, but overall it was a good season. I’ve been playing football since I was three-years-old and when I score a touchdown nothing else matters in the world.”

He did a lot of scoring during the 2018 season.

His best game of the season came against Sam Houston High when he rushed for an eye-popping 417 yards and five touchdowns. It could have been an even bigger night, but two rushing touchdowns and a punt return for a score were called back because of penalties.

Aldine High head football coach Hank Semler said while Howard is a very good athlete, he’s an even better person.

“Jacorey loves to help people,” Semler said. “He’s a man of God. He’s a model student (he carries a 3.6 grade point average). He’s everything a model Aldine ISD graduate should be. He’s the kind of young man I hope my daughter finds some day.”

High praise indeed for the young man. He’s also a team player.

Last year, Howard played quarterback and had a nice season, but during seven-on-seven play last summer, Howard approached Semler with a request.

“He came up to me after one of their games and said, ‘Coach, I think the team plays better when I play running back. Do you think it would be OK if you moved me to running back?’”

It didn’t take Semler long to make the change.

The 6-1, 220-pounder runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and that speed was evident in the Mustangs’ first game against Cypress Falls.

“Cypress Falls had some fast defensive back, but Jacorey had a 93-yard touchdown run where he left them in the dust. They (Cy falls defensive backs) went from the side view to the rear view in a short time frame.”

Semler believes Howard should have a chance to play as a freshman at TSU, but he needs to do some work in the weight room from now until he reports in August.

“He will have a chance to play as a freshman, but he needs to gain about 20 pounds of muscle in the chest and neck area,” Semler said.

Semler said he is going to miss having Howard around his program, but looks forward to following him in college.

“You get a productive kid like Jacorey about once every three years,” Semler said. “I’ve been a lucky guy to be around such an outstanding young man. He’s the type of kid that if he borrowed your car, he’d return it with a full tank of gas.”