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October 25, 2011NC State fifth-year wide receiver Steven Howard is trying to make the most of his last few games and knows what is at stake.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Howard has 12 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, which was a two-yard score against Central Michigan on Oct. 8. The Charlotte native started his first game of his Wolfpack career against Virginia on Saturday, and is ready to finish the last five games in college on a high note.
"This is my last year, so I'm just giving my all right now," Howard said. "I'm giving everything I got, and I don't want to let my teammates down in any kind of way. I think I'm hitting my stride, but there is always room for improvement and I can always get better."
Howard had his best game of the season with three catches for 48 yards against Georgia Tech on Oct. 1. He also caught his first career touchdown against the Yellow Jackets last year, a pretty 21-yard reception where he dotted his toes in the back of the end zone during the 45-28 Wolfpack victory Sept. 25, 2010.
"It just happens that way for some odd reason," said Howard about his past success against Georgia Tech. "I look at every game the same. They are all the same to me."
Howard's body control along the sideline or the previously mentioned touchdown against Georgia Tech is one of his best wide receiver attributes.
"It's just second nature after playing receiver for so long," Howard said. "It's just like tying your shoes. It happens and it's something you do. I don't really think too much about it."
Howard knows the Wolfpack have to win three out of the next five games to reach a bowl game for the third time in his career. NCSU plays at Florida State at 12 p.m. Saturday.
"Every day in practice, I'm just giving it all I got," Howard said. "I'm leaving it out all out for my boys on the game field since it is my last year."
Howard, and senior starters Jay Smith and T.J. Graham, have been working together for four years, and in the case of Howard and Smith, five years.
"We are all close, even with the freshmen," Howard said. "We are a unit and like brothers and hang out. I just tell the younger guys to keep working hard. When they struggle or line up wrong, we try to help them. We don't haze or anything. When we leave, we feel they can take over our spots and take over."
Howard has 37 catches for 340 yards and two touchdowns in 43 games for his Wolfpack career. Just as important, he has already graduated and hopes to have a career in architecture.
"My career has flown by and gone fast," Howard said. "I got my degree in visual design and want to get into architecture. I'll probably end up going to graduate school with that. I haven't been thinking too much about that yet.
"I really love art and wanted to find something that involves art. I'd like to do hands-on stuff like landscape architecture. I'd want to build water fountains and ponds and things you see people have in their backyards that look nice."
N.C. State NEWS