Cashius Howell Brings Specialized Pass Rush Skills to Texas A&M Football
Something that Texas A&M football has been missing over the past two years since Mike Elko departed as defensive coordinator is a specialized EDGE rusher like he had with Tyree Johnson. They have a couple of guys on campus that fit that mold in Malick Sylla and Enai White, but they too rarely have been deployed in that manner. We’ve seen flashes from both guys, and could see the niche that they fit in Elko’s defense when they signed, but they have not accomplished that in a different system.
With the return of Elko to College Station, the specific position in question seems like it is bound to make a comeback. White and Sylla are both names I expect to benefit here, but it looks like Elko is hoping to build a deep stable of these rushers. To that end, he has brought in Cashius Howell from Bowling Green to play that position alongside those 2022 signees.
Howell had an uber productive 2023 season, tying for the lead in the Mid-American Conference in sacks at 9.5. That made up the lion’s share of his 10.5 total tackles for loss, as he works as a sack specialist.
Howell is listed as an outside linebacker. At 6’4”, 235, he possesses enough mass to not be a pushover along the line, but his strength comes in his ability to get around offensive tackles on an outside rush. He possesses a still-growing array of moves to make an impact on third downs.
The archetype of player that Howell fits is extremely useful in Elko’s defense: again, see how Tyree Johnson was used in the 2021 season for reference. Whereas Nic Scourton is more of an every-down lineman who can stop the run as well as rush the passer, Howell, being a bit lighter, will be more of a third-down, sure passing situation guy that Elko can deploy. Situational skill sets like this are key to defensive success, as you don’t need to play anyone out of position or work around the hole in your personnel.
This is why Howell is so key of a pickup in the portal. He fills not only a gap in production, but a specific archetype that contributes to making this defense as tough as possible to deal with. For that reason, I expect him to have a highly productive year for the Aggies.