Data Scout Notes: 10GP-70-283-4.0-5TD-Rush/10-101-Rec/23-493-21.4-KOR
Post-Draft Outlook: A closer look at the Cardinals' picks: Round 7/240 -- LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, 5-7, 180 pounds, Pittsburgh...The Cardinals would like a kick returner and Stephens-Howling could fill that role. He could also play on return teams. - by The Sports Xchange
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LAROD STEPHENS-HOWLING Running Back Pittsburgh Panthers #34 5:07.0-180-4.48 Johnstown, PA Greater Johnstown High School
NFL teams may see the next Darren Sproles in Stephens-Howling, whose size belies his strength as a ballcarrier.
He didn't get a lot of carries behind LeSean "Shady" McCoy, but rushed for 312 yards and five touchdowns and averaged 21.4 yards on kickoff returns in 2008. When given a chance to carry the load in 2006, the diminutive back rushed for 893 yards and nine scores and added 19 catches.
Nicknamed the "Johnstown Jet," Stephens-Howling is also a strong special teams player who has experience as a kick returner in addition to playing on the coverage units.
His unselfish style earned rave comments from coach Dave Wannstedt after a game against Syracuse last September.
"I cannot say enough good things about LaRod Stephens," said Wannstedt. "He made three special team tackles last week. He's covering kickoffs and punts. If ever there was an example of a team player, not getting caught in personal accolades and recognition, it's LaRod Stephens. I love him as a person and a player. He's probably the most underrated player in the Big East."
Change-of-pace backs are in vogue right now, and Stephens-Howling certainly fits that bill.
He arrived at Pittsburgh following a prolific high school career at Greater Johnstown, where his 4,597 career rushing yards broke the 29-year-old school record held by Artrell Hawkins, Sr., who played for the Panthers in 1979 and 1980.
Positives: Explosive quickness and change of direction ability in the open field. Low center of gravity allows him to spin off arm tackles and get lost among large NFL linemen, keeping defenders from lining him up. Runs stronger than expected, keeps his legs churning after first contact and in traffic. Good hands for returns and as receiver out of the backfield. Elusive in the open field. Should make a nice complement to a bruising back to keep defenses off-guard. Good straight-line speed on kickoff returns, able to explode through the hole. Could be tried on punts, even though he is inexperienced there.
Negatives: Very short back, also with a wiry frame. Lacks the strength to be and every-down back or a part of a short-yardage offense. Will be a liability in pass protection as a third down back. Not as large or strong as most NFL kickoff return specialists. More quick than fast, not necessarily a breakaway threat when breaking into the second level.
The four-year letterman's career totals include 1,959 rushing yards, 17 total touchdowns and 52 receptions (for 454 yards). He averaged 22.8 yards per kickoff return (34 for 775). ... Honored with the Demale Stanley Most Inspirational Award and David Sandberg Champion Award, which both take into account dedication to team and excellence on and off the field.
Finished second on the team with 312 rushing yards on 77 carries (4.1-yard average), including five touchdowns. ... Added 11 receptions for 109 yards.
Veteran tailback who provides Pitt with another speedy and elusive backfield threat...played in 11 games, starting two...missed the Michigan State contest due to ribs injury (sustained vs. Grambling)...rushed for 320 yards on 78 carries (4.1 avg.) with one TD...as a kick returner, averaged 20 yards on five attempts (100 yards total) for the season with a long return of 45 against Navy...has played in 31 career games, making 16 starts...against the Big East's top rushing defense at the time, Stephens-Howling came off the bench vs. Cincinnati to average nearly eight yards per carry and compile 100 rushing yards on just 13 attempts...he scored the game-winning TD on a seven-yard burst with just over five minutes remaining...on the final TD drive, accounted for 52 of the 61 yards covered by rushing for 42 yards (on six carries) and catching a 10-yard pass...rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries (4.2 avg.) vs. Eastern Michigan in the opener...made his season debut as a kick returner vs. Navy and had 84 yards on four returns (21.0 avg.), including a 45-yarder.
Paced Pitt with 893 rushing yards on 178 attempts (5.0 avg.)...team's second-leading scorer with 60 points (nine rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD)...finished fourth in the Big East in rushing (81.2 yards/game) and all-purpose yards (105.0 yards/game)...played in and started 11 games, missing the Sept. 8 Cincinnati contest due to a right ankle injury...rushed for a career-best 221 yards on 27 carries, including a 70-yard TD run, at Syracuse...averaged 8.2 yards per carry en route to becoming Pitt's first 200-yard rusher since Nov. 24, 2000, when Kevan Barlow had 272 against West Virginia...Stephens-Howling was not tackled for a single loss against the Orange...his 221-yard rushing performance was the 10th highest single-game net rushing total in Division I-A during the 2006 season...named Big East Offensive Player of the Week for his Syracuse performance...rushed for 154 yards and two TDs on a career-high 32 carries at Connecticut...at UCF rushed for a career-high three TDs and netted 135 yards on 19 carries (7.1 avg.)...TDs covered 23, 26 and six yards...had 66 yards on 13 carries (5.1 avg.) with one rushing TD vs. The Citadel...also had two catches for 38 yards, including a 30-yard TD catch off a gadget-play pass from tight end Darrell Strong against The Citadel...rushed for 58 yards on 17 carries (3.4 avg.) and had two receptions for 37 yards (18.5 avg.) against Virginia before leaving the game late in the first half due to an ankle injury.
Led Pitt in rushing with 434 yards on 96 carries (4.5 avg.) in nine games as a true freshman...made three starts...also contributed as a kick returner and had five returns for 151 yards (30.2 avg.) and a 95-yard TD...totaled nine receptions for 41 yards...actually started the Louisville game as part of a five-wideout set with no running backs...played in the season's first four contests before missing consecutive games (Rutgers and Cincinnati) due to an ankle injury... returned to the lineup versus South Florida Oct. 15 and rushed for a game-high 91 yards on 14 carries (6.5 avg.)... followed up the USF contest by rushing for a game and season-high 101 yards on 23 carries (4.4 avg.) versus Syracuse, the first 100-yard effort of his collegiate career...at Nebraska, rushed for a team-high 98 yards on 17 carries (5.8 avg.)...rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries (4.2 avg.) versus Youngstown State before leaving the game with an ankle injury...at Ohio, took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a TD...it was his first collegiate career kick return and TD.
2009: Suffered a hamstring injury running the 40-yard dash at Pittsburgh's pro day.
2007: Missed the Michigan State game with a ribs injured suffered against Grambling state.
2006: Missed the Sept. 8 Cincinnati game with a right ankle injury. ... Also left the Virginia game with an ankle injury.
2005: Missed games against Rutgers and Cincinnati with an ankle injury.
Combine: Did not receive an invitation.
Pro Day: Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times. ... 4.41 in the 40-yard dash. ... Was unable to complete the workout or positional drills after suffering a hamstring injury during his second 40 run.
Prolific rusher who was a two-time member of The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State Team (first team)...in three varsity seasons, rushed for a Greater Johnstown-record 4,597 yards, averaging 8.9 yards per carry...broke the 29-year-old career rushing record of 3,552 yards set by former Pitt running back Artrell Hawkins Sr., who lettered for the Panthers in 1979 and '80...rushed for 57 touchdowns during his career...as a senior, led the Johnstown area with 1,875 yards rushing, 32 touchdowns and 192 points...averaged 9.97 yards on 207 carries as a senior...led Greater Johnstown to its first-ever District 6 Class AAA title and a 9-3 record...as a defensive back, compiled 51 tackles and five interceptions...his junior year, set the school single-season rushing record with 2,226 yards (surpassing another mark held by Hawkins Sr.)...his junior season rushing total additionally set a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference (LHAC) record...averaged 12 yards per carry his junior year, scoring 23 touchdowns and 140 total points...led the Trojans to a 9-2 mark that season, including a berth in the District 6-AAA title game...selected one of the top 50 National Players of the Year by Old Spice "Red Zone"...first-ever two-time Tribune-Democrat Offensive Player of the Year...Southern Allegheny Football Coaches Association Offensive Player of the Year...received a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for his football accomplishments...PrepStar All-American...rated Pennsylvania's No. 13 prospect by Scout.com, No. 22 by Rivals.com and No. 24 by SuperPrep...SuperPrep All-Northeast Team...Scout.com East Hot 100...considered one of the nation's top 60 "athletes" by Rivals.com...played under Coach Bob Arcurio...selected to play in the Big 33 Football Classic and was named Pennsylvania's MVP in the game...also a standout in baseball, track and wrestling...National Honor Society...Who's Who Among American High School Students...Minority Scholars Club...National Honor Roll.
LaRod E. Stephens-Howling, born 4/26/87, is the son of Rodney and Stephanie Howling...has five brothers and one sister...administration of justice major.
Draft Scout Player News
09/12/13 - RB LaRod Stephens-Howling was placed on reserve/injured by the Steelers Tuesday.
09/09/13 - RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, who "led" them with 19 yards rushing on six carries in the opener, is done for the season with a torn ACL. The Steelers re-signed Jonathan Dwyer to replace him on the roster.
09/08/13 - RB LaRod Stephens-Howling suffered a knee injury that could be season-ending.
08/22/13 - RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (strained knee) did not practice Wednesday.
12/04/12 - RB LaRod Stephens-Howling was open on two screen plays that were well set up. Rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley missed him both times.
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