Staying with the Mizzou Football family after a four-year playing career as a safety is Del Howard, who will serve for a second-straight season as a defensive quality control graduate assistant. Howard graduated from Mizzou in May of 2010, in just four years, as he earned playing time right away in Gary Pinkel's program as a true freshman when he came to campus in 2006.
As the defensive quality control graduate assistant, Howard will be responsible for assisting with day-to-day operations of the defensive coaching staff, including video breakdown, scouting, computer and video information input, as well as providing various assistance with recruiting operations, among other duties.
Howard came to Mizzou from Dallas, Texas, and earned a reputation for being a hard-hitting defender. He started at Mizzou as a cornerback, and after playing there as a true freshman, he moved to safety, where he started twice for a defense which led the Big 12 Conference in total defense during league games in the year that saw Mizzou go a school-record 12-2 and finish ranked fourth nationally in the final polls.
Howard is working on a master's degree at Mizzou.
Following is Howard's bio as a student-athlete...
2008 Spring Team Most Improved Safety
Hard-hitting and skilled veteran defender who played free safety for the third straight year after initially coming to Mizzou as a cornerback ... Battled injuries during his senior season, and was limited to reserve duty, where he registered four tackles on the season ... Closed a solid spring camp by leading the defense with 6 tackles in the Black & Gold Game, which was won by the defense, 68-40.
Continued to make plays for the Tiger secondary, as he turned in a career-high 41 stops in 13 games played ... Recorded three tackles in the season opener against Illinois ... Made four stops against Southeast Missouri State ... Had six tackles against Nevada and followed that with a career-high eight stops against Buffalo ... Also broke up a pass in the Nevada game as the Tigers cruised to a 69-17 win ... Upped that career record by one when he recorded nine tackles in the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma in Kansas City ... Made a pair of tackles against Nebraska before recorded three stops against both Texas and Colorado ... Had one tackle against Kansas State ... Made two tackles against Iowa State ... Had a solid spring that saw him earn the team's most improved safety award.
Developed nicely in his second season in the program, registering 32 tackles in 13 games playing safety ... Started games against Texas A&M and Kansas as Mizzou opened in a nickel package each game ... Saw significant playing time in the opener against Illinois and notched a career-high four tackles ... Made a career-high seven tackles in win over Iowa State, including one TFL ... Later made his first career start against Texas A&M, and tied his career-best tackles mark of 7 tackles ... Recorded three tackles against Kansas ... Changed his jersey number to 15 in the spring after wearing 17 a year ago for the Tigers.
Made solid contributions in his first season as a Tiger, as one of 4 true freshmen to earn playing time in 2006, joining WRs Jared Perry and Danario Alexander, and LB Sean Weatherspoon ... Was listed at No. 2 on the depth chart at one cornerback position entering the bowl game ... Played in 12-of-13 games, and ended with 9 total tackles ... Was tied for the team lead in the regular season, despite his reserve status, with 2 INTs, picking off passes in consecutive games against Ole Miss and at New Mexico ... Had 2 tackles in his collegiate debut, including a TFL for a 2-yard loss that was the hardest hit of the night for Mizzou ... Had 3 games with 2 tackles each, including Murray State, Ole Miss and Kansas State ... Returned his INT against Ole Miss for 16 yards, just missing breaking it for a TD ....
Amassed 143 tackles as a senior, earning 2nd-Team All-State mention, as well as 1st-Team All-District and All-Area honors ... Was named the defensive MVP of his district, as he added 3 interceptions, 7 QB sacks, 8 passes broken up, and returned a fumble for a TD on the year ... Helped his team reach the third round of the state playoffs in 2005 ... Earned 1st-Team All-District honors as a junior in 2004 after registering 88 tackles and forcing 3 fumbles ... Named team's rookie of the year as a sophomore, making 56 tackles on the year ... Was also a multi-year letterwinner in track at South Garland ... High school coach - Mickey Moss.
Parents - Delria & Darlene Gunnells Howard ... Chose Mizzou over Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Illinois and Tulsa, among others ... Primary Mizzou recruiter - Bruce Walker.
HOWARD CAREER STATISTICS
G-GS UT-AT Total TFL INTs
2006 12-0 6-3 9 1-2 2-16
2007 13-2 20-12 32 1-2 0-0
2008 13-0 22-19 41 0-0 0-0
2009 9-0 1-3 4 0-0 0-0
Totals 47-2 49-37 86 2-4 2-16