Tehachapi football standout Drew Howell (far left) is all smiles after signing his letter of intent to play football for the
University of Oregon. Joining the celebration are his immediate family members, school superintendent Dr. Richard Swanson,
and head football coach Steve Denman. Photo by Tom Shea, The Tehachapi News

Howell Signs with the University of Oregon

Posted by Tom Shea, The Tehachapi News on February 4, 2010

Tehachapi's Drew Howell has been touted as the most talented special team long snapper in the nation on just about every scouting board across the country.

After successful stints at collegiate scouting camps last summer in Las Vegas, Oregon and Florida, Howell has had considerable interest nation-wide, and along with it, virtually his choice of any school he wishes with a football program.

Speculation on which school he would pick officially ended on National Signing Day last week, with the standout athlete zeroing in on the University of Oregon for his next scholastic and football venture.

He made his intentions official by signing with Oregon at a press-conference at Tehachapi High School in a standing room only gymnasium, becoming the only Kern County prep football athlete to sign with a Pac-10 school this season. It was also the first-ever Pac-10 scholarship offered to a Warrior football player.

"Oregon is a perfect situation for me," said an excited Howell at the press conference. "They have a great small town atmosphere, a lot of trees and mountains; it just reminds me of home here in Tehachapi."

Howell was a two-time first team All-SSL offensive and defense standout for the Warriors and a 2009 fist team all-area selection. As a three year varsity starter for mountain football, he recorded 268 tackles, 5.5 sacks and guided the Warrior offensive line to 13,833 total yards past the line of scrimmage.

"We're extremely proud of Drew (Howell) and his future," said Tehachapi football head coach Steve Denman. "He is a great class act and he deserves this. He will be a great representative for Tehachapi at the next level of football. We wish him all the best."

Highly recruited by some of the top Division I football programs, Howell entertained interest from many upper-tier schools including Florida and Alabama, the NCAA's last two national championship teams.

But a kicking and snapping camp visit last summer at Oregon, and Howell's comfort level at the university, proved to be the difference on his school of choice.

"I pretty much made my mind up to attend Oregon almost right away, I've probably known that I would be going there if a scholarship was offered since last August," added Howell. "I've had a lot of people help me along the way, including (personal snapping coach) Chris Rubio, Coach Denman, and the rest of the coaches here at the Tehachapi. I couldn't have done it without their help and encouragement."

The scholarship that Howell will be receiving will be a four-year award, with a total estimated value of approximately $29,000 a year for tuition, building allowance, incidental and health services.

"So many of our students look up to Drew. He's a great person with great character on and off the field," said Tehachapi High School principal Cary Johnson. "You never hear anything negative about him, only positive. I have no doubt that he will be successful up (at Oregon)."

Looking at Oregon's football roster heading into the 2010 season, there are high hopes that Howell could see a lot of playing time as an incoming freshman.

"Last season they had a walk-on snapper, and the guy doing most of their snapping was a linebacker," Howell said. "My goal is to start, and I'm going to do whatever I can to contribute wherever I'm needed. I'm going to work has hard as I can."

With his time at Tehachapi High almost behind him, Howell has nothing but positive memories that he will be taking with him to his next school.

"I'll miss Friday night, walking on the field and seeing the town in the stands. I'll miss everyone," said Howell. "I'm going to go up there and give it my best. I'm just going to be me."

Drew Howell poses with members of his immediate family after signing his letter of intent
to play football for the University of Oregon. Photo by Tom Shea, The Tehachapi News