Jordan Howard could return for Pinstripe Bowl #iufb

Jordan Howard’s junior season may not be over yet.

After a knee injury prevented him from contributing during Indiana’s final two games of the regular season, Howard could be ready to go for IU’s appearance in the Dec. 26 Pinstripe Bowl against Duke.

Howard emerged from the Michigan game on Nov. 14 with a knee injury, and after lasting only three carries at Maryland a week later, underwent a knee scope leading into the season finale at Purdue.

Howard hasn’t been ruled out for the postseason, and Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said Sunday that Howard “might” be well enough to play by the end of this month.

“We thought we might go through Purdue, then scope him, get him back for the bowl game,” Wilson said. “Well, when he came to Maryland, we sped it up a week. We’ll see what his timeline is. … At the same time, you know, he’s a great player, (and there are) a lot of things to consider. We’ll be smart there.”

Last week, Howard earned first team All-Big Ten honors despite missing parts or all of five conference games this fall.

Howard is second in the Big Ten with 134.8 rushing yards per game and 146.6 all-purpose yards per game. He has 1,213 rushing yards on 196 carries and a 6.2 average with nine rushing touchdowns and 10 total scores.

A candidate for the Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards, Howard became the 11th Hoosier to reach 1,000 yards and is currently 12th on the program’s all-time single-season list.

In his absence, Devine Redding has played especially well. Redding posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances to close the season.

“We have other backs,” Wilson said. “You guys don’t talk about it, but the lines and tight ends block good and helps the running game a lot. The runners are good, but we ran it good. There’s a lot of consistency with our group, too. You know what I’m saying? The defense has got to keep getting better. We got to keep moving with the offense and young guy stuff. That’s kind of what we’re doing.”

18 comments

  1. And that will be his last college football game. Dimes to dollars, he’s going to the NFL next year. Unless his knee is worse than Wilson makes it sound, or unless he injures it again, he’d be stupid not to. And I don’t think Howard is stupid.

  2. Podunker, I agree Howard is good enough for the NFL. However the teams are very concerned about players that got hurt during the season as the NFL is even more physical than Big Ten football. I am sure if he is expected to be drafted very high he will go but I expect teams will be leary about him right now. I hope he is healthy for the Bowl game and plays very well even if he leaves after this year.

  3. I’m guessing that, barring a monster game in the Pinstripe Bowl, he comes back. As good as he is the line on him is that he is fragile. Nobody in the NFL wants a fragile power back.

    He could be a late first round, early second round pick with a great senior year. I looked at a few mock draft sites and he is barely on the radar for the upcoming draft. I only saw a single site with him as a top 10 running back in the draft. Some boards didn’t have him listed at all, including undercalssmen.

    Of course, if he comes back and spends the year on the sideline nobody will have any interest.

    BTW, in Colorado Pinstripe is far better know as a beer.

  4. We’ll see.

    One of my former players coaches a skill position for an AFC East team and I was sharing what he told me regarding durability. I’m sure anyone who might benefit financially from Jordan going pro are going to encourage his entry.

  5. Chet, I love your optimism, but you’re thinking with your heart and not with your head. The minor knee injury Howard recently suffered is likely to increase the odds that Howard will declare for the 2016 NFL draft. He’s not going to risk a “career-ending” injury, and forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars, to return for his senior season at IU. Besides, IU’s offense is not going to be as good next year as it was this year. That would be very foolish, and would be a huge risk. If Howard thinks he’s going to get drafted in the first four rounds of the 2016 NFL draft, he’d be a fool not to go pro. And Howard is NOT going to be a first round draft pick in the 2017 NFL draft, no matter how good he were to play in 2016. He’s a very good running back, but he’s not a superstar back. Two year’s of income as a fourth-round NFL player can change the lives of a lot of families in America. It may not make a young man “wealthy,” but it can do wonders for that young man and his family. And if he extends his NFL career for more than three seasons, then he’s looking at long-term financial stability, or better. If Howard is confident he’ll get drafted in the top four rounds, he should take the money and not look back. Besides, IU has proven they can produce good running backs, so his loss will not be devastating to IU’s offense.

  6. …”IU’s offense is not going to be as good next year as it was this year”?…

    I am with Chet about Howard for the next draft possibilities. Coleman played through a painful injury that nor many knew about and was drafted 3rd round. I doubt at the present time with info Chet researched JH would go in the 6th unless he would really light it up on the 26th. He best come back to IU and strive for health, luck, headlines and fortune.

  7. Po, maybe so. I certainly hopes he comes back.

    I only know one person coaching in the NFL, and he isn’t very high in the food chain, so I don’t have much of a sampling. I do know one team that won’t be drafting him unless he is still around in the bargain basement rounds.

    I think his performance, or lack thereof, on the 26th will greatly impact his value in the draft.

  8. Coleman went in the 3rd. Cobb out of Minnesota went start of 5th. Howard is better than Cobb but lacks the break away speed of Coleman. I’d say he goes middle 3rd to middle 4th round. But his lack of elite speed is not something another year in school is going to fix. It’s in his best interest to go to the NFL. Just like Coleman, all you can say is thanks for choosing IU, thanks for what you did for the team, and hope you have a great NFL career.

  9. Hey guys, I hope I’m wrong about Howard going to the NFL. I’d love to see him come back to IU for another year, but I think the odds are heavily against it. The risk of returning to IU and risking a career ending injury involves too much financial risk. And it might be just as valuable for IU to have him get drafted in the first four rounds than it is to have him return. Having two running backs go to the NFL in back-to-back years will certainly enhance IU’s ability to recruit other talented running backs in the future.

  10. HC, I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that next season’s IU offense is NOT going to be as good as this season’s offense was. Replacing a record-setting QB who had three years of experience in the system will, by itself, affect the productivity of the offense. As you know, all new QBs, no matter how talented they are, go through a learning curve with their teammates. And that learning curve is probably more severe in a Wilson offense. Plus, the loss of several key offensive linemen is going to affect the running game and pass protection. The wide receivers should be better next season, but that’s about it. Throw in the fact that IU has fewer “soft” non-conference teams to play before the Big Ten schedule begins, and it is not hard to predict that IU’s offense won’t be as good/productive next year as it was in 2015. We have to hope that IU’s defense is greatly improved, and will pick up the slack.

  11. Podunker you may be right about IU’ offense next year but I see a different dynamic. I look at the Lagow kid and see a better QB than Nate was because he has better feet than Nate. Since IU’s QB doesn’t audible I don’t see a big learning curve for Lagow. I quality QB that has a good feel for finding open receivers will step in and do well. Maybe Lagow comes in and doesn’t do well but that isn’t what I see on his films. Our receiving corps will be one of the outstanding groups in the Big Ten. We bring back the three main starters plus Patrick is recognized as the best IU has. If Westbrook and Thornton improve as much going into their sophomore year like Cobbs did this year we will have a tall group of very good receivers. Add in the two smaller quick receivers that missed this year and we could easily go two deep to keep fresh receivers going up against tired DBs.

    You are right to be concerned about the OL but I think coach Frey has proven he will have a very good OL when the season starts. They have backups that have played a lot of football already so I think they will be good enough to make IU’s offense more dangerous than we were this year. I think IU could get back to the level they were in 2013 on offense which was the high point in scoring offense.

    It is good to see the coaches bringing in a juco DB along with a quality HS Safety. I hope to see a juco DL man or two along with some high rated HS DL players sign.

    I agree with you Podunker that it will be nice when IU can get commits early in the process but I think that will occur in 2017 with the success this year and the bowl game.

  12. The fact of the matter is…it’s college football not an NFL franchise using their first round pick on QB. Oklahoma is in the FBS playoffs with a QB who walked on. OSU won the title with their 3rd string QB doing a Cam Newton imitation. Who freakin’ knows what some 19-20 year is gonna pull out of their butt we never saw coming?

    It might be this JC kid. Zander could show up as the second coming of Joe Montana. People are high on Austin.

    It’s Indiana. We could finish the year with some guy from the golf team at quarterback.

  13. Chet thanks for making me laugh with your comment about it being IU and we could end up with the kid on a golf cart at QB. You are right that we never know what a player can do until we see them play. OSU won the national title starting a freshman QB until he got hurt at the end of the season and as Chet put it the 3rd string played like “Cam Newton”. What separates IU from the OSU and UM is the depth of having quality back ups and IU is building their roster so they have Big Ten quality players as back ups. Before we had MAC level kids playing well but back-ups that were far from being Big ten players. It has taken time to build the roster and many have been impatient with that development but I think the coaches have us very close to a solid roster of starters and back-ups.

  14. I too believe the offense next year will be much like it was in 2013. For 1 thing the videos of RL show me is a better long ball thrower than even Nate is. He also has a quicker release. Also the wide WR’s and TE’s will have the experience, size and depth to block downfield better than this year. That was a big positive with the success of the 2013 team. I have no worry about the OL future. No, there is no way I can say with any certainty next years offense will not be as good as this years.

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