One of the few bright spots for Colorado State during its season dooming five-game losing streak has been the rapid development of defensive back Jack Howell.
The freshman safety has been named the Mountain West Freshman of the Week, announced by the league office on Monday, for the second time this season.
Howell became the first offensive or defensive freshman to earn the award twice in one season. His first honor came after recording nine tackles in the Rams' 22-6 win over Toledo in September.
Howell led the Rams defense with 11 tackles, all solo, including a tackle for a loss, in a 50-45 loss at Hawaii on Saturday.
Rams coach Steve Addazio has long sung high praise of the freshman, saying he’s got “natural instinct” and is “an outstanding player” now and will be “fabulous” in the future. Howell has deserved it recently by recording at least nine tackles in the previous four games, reaching double-digits in three of them.
“He’s a ball guy,” Addazio said during his weekly press conference on Monday. “I’ve seen him in all phases, he’s just steadily grew and I think he’s on a tremendous course right now to be a hell of a football player."
Howell was also recently named to the watch list for the Shaun Alexander Award, presented annually to the most outstanding freshman. He is the only player in the Mountain West Conference up for the award.
Howell is second among the Rams with 41 solo tackles and fourth most in total tackles (64). He also leads CSU defensive backs with 3.5 tackles for a loss this season. Unlike Howell, everyone among the top five are seniors on their way out.
The Rams (3-8) will close out the season at home on Saturday against Nevada. The Rams will look to honor their seniors while trying to end the year on a high note.