by A.C. Hall
The regular season may be over for the West Virginia Mountaineers, but the future is just getting started for quarterback Skyler Howard. The starting quarterback for the Brewer Bears in 2011 and 2012, Howard is now a sophomore at West Virginia University where he’s been working hard and waiting patiently for his moment to shine. While he’s made the most of limited chances on the field this season, Howard got the chance to start on Saturday and delivered a performance that have some in the media dubbing him WVU’s quarterback of the future.
The Mountaineers were on a three game losing streak heading into Saturday and with starting quarterback Clint Trickett out with a concussion, it fell to Howard to break that streak. Things looked bleak for the team early as they fell behind, but Howard and the Mountaineers came roaring back, eventually winning by a score of 37 – 24. Howard finished the game with 285 yards passing, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and added 69 yards rushing.
The performance of Howard doesn’t come as a surprise to those who followed his career as a starter at Brewer High School, with some believing he stands above other highly touted area quarterbacks like JT Barrett and Jerrod Heard. Barrett and Heard played against Brewer, and like Howard, each has moved on to play at the college level.
“I feel like Skyler was perhaps the best pocket passing quarterback I’ve seen in the three years I’ve called games for Brewer; even better than JT Barrett and Jerrod Heard,” said Donnie Foster, voice of the Brewer Bear Network. “Barrett, who is now the starting QB for an Ohio State team ranked in the top 10, and Heard, who could be the starting QB in waiting for Charlie Strong and the Longhorns, were both better all around athletes, but neither possessed the pocket presence of Howard.”
Howard’s performance on Saturday got him multiple mentions on the ESPN Big 12 blog, as two separate ESPN writers spoke about his impressive showing. It’s not the first time Howard’s play at WVU got attention this month. He also turned heads a week ago when coming into the game as a substitute against highly ranked opponent Kansas State. Howard was put into the game late with his team down 20 – 3, but managed to lead them in a comeback attempt that almost succeeded. The final score was Kansas 26, WVU 20, with Howard finishing his limited time in the game with 198 yards passing, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
As impressive as he’s been on the field, the way Howard has handled himself off the field has also been noticed.
“Brewer had a real gem of a player and leader with Skyler Howard. I had the privilege of interviewing him a few times on the Coach’s show, and each time he displayed humility and poise,” Foster said. “When I saw him being interviewed recently after a game at West Virginia, it sounded just like the young senior from a few years back, except he was now sporting a beard!”
Now the waiting begins for the Mountaineers as they see if they’re selected for a prestigious bowl game to close out their season. If they are, it’s a sure bet that a proud hometown audience will tune in to see Howard play.
“The district Brewer found itself in the last few years has produced some of the best QBs in the entire nation! Here’s hoping Skyler Howard trumps them all,” Foster said.