Freshman outfielder Jacob Howell, a native of Ashland, Ohio, finally realized a childhood dream when he adorned the scarlet and gray for the first time after redshirting his freshman season. After attending an Ohio State baseball camp before his senior year of high school, Howell walked off the field and left an impression on the Buckeye coaching staff. Since then, Howell has been a vital addition to the squad both in the field and at the plate.
What is your earliest baseball memory?
“I remember playing catch with my mom and dad in the back yard. I used to have a plastic bat and ball and my parents would teach me how to swing and catch. I first played organized baseball in a tee-ball league.”
Did you play any other sports in high school?
“I played freshman football and I was on the junior varsity golf team my sophomore year. I then played baseball both my junior and senior years of high school.”
Did you look at any other schools to attend?
“There was just one other school I was looking at and that was Ohio University. But, I have always loved the Buckeyes. It was my dream to play here.”
Did you ever think the dream of playing for Ohio State would become a reality?
“Before my senior year, I came to the baseball camp because I thought it would just be fun to play on the field for three days. I never thought that I would be recruited. I was just blessed that way and it turned out for the best.”
What was your first start as a Buckeye like?
“The first game I played in was against Kansas State at Minute Maid Park. Coach told me to start loosening up and throwing in the bull pen. I went in the seventh inning and my first at bat I hit a triple. That was the most exciting experience of my life – my first at bat as a Buckeye.”
What was the experience like to run out on the field at Bill Davis Stadium for the first time?
“It was absolutely exhilarating. The crowd was great and it was so amazing to play at the stadium. I had been preparing a long time for that. My family came for that game and they were very proud and I was proud to have them here. My family is my biggest fan and they will try to make it for every home game this season.”
What advice did your parents give you when you first came to college?
“The biggest thing was my studies. My parents wanted me to stay on top of things. College is all about who you hang out with and my parents wanted me to get into the right group of friends.”
Personally, what does baseball mean to you?
“I feel the Lord has given me the talent and skills in this area. Every time I step onto the field, I feel that I was given the opportunity to play because of Him. That is my driving force behind playing baseball.”
Who do you look up to the most on the team?
“I look up to coach (Erik) Hagen for sure. He has been my mentor not only in baseball but life. We are really good friends. It is nice to have that in a coach because I can talk to him at any time.”
When did you first meet Coach Hagen?
“I did not meet coach Hagen until the fall of last season when I started practice. Last season I had the chance to grow close to Coach and (former Buckeye) Christian Snavely. I got to know them not only because of baseball but also through Bible studies that we would have.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I love to play the piano in my free time. I took lessons from my grandmother for about four years in elementary school and have been playing ever since then. I absolutely love it. I am also involved within groups at my church and Athletes in Action, a bible study.
Currently, your major is undecided. Do you have a certain area that you are interested in?
“Actually, I just declared communications as my major. I still have one more class to take until I can officially apply to the major. I choose communications because there are a lot of areas I can go into.”
Do you hope to play baseball in the future?
“That is always the goal. For now, I am focused on my studies and playing ball for Ohio State. I am just trying to do whatever I can to become the best baseball player.”
What do you expect to get out of the 2004 season?
“I expect a Big Ten Championship. I would not expect anything less than that. I hope that we go on to the NCAA tournament and succeed there as well.”