Q&A with Johnathan 'Bug' Howard
Johnathan “Bug” Howard was the No. 24 wide receiver in the nation and No. 22 overall player in the state as a senior at Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Ga. Howard received offers from Clemson, Louisville, Mississippi State, N.C. State and Southern Mississippi, but signed with the Tar Heels in January.
Daily Tar Heel Assistant Sports Editor Grace Raynor caught up with Howard Tuesday after practice.
DAILY TAR HEEL: Why does everyone call you “Bug?”
“BUG” HOWARD: Everybody calls me Bug. My grandma gave me this name when I was 6 or 7. It stuck with me throughout my life, and everybody just shortened my name to Bug. It used to be “Bugger.” I used to bug her a lot because I love my grandma so much, and then it shortened to Bug and then everybody just called me Bug.
DTH: What was it like making your college debut against South Carolina last week?
BH: It was a good experience — playing in front of I don’t know how many thousands of people. No jitters, nobody really knew me, so I was just going out, showing the guys what I could do.
DTH: How do you use your size to your advantage, and how tall are you?
BH: I’m 6-foot-5. I’m longer than normal receivers so when their DBs are behind me and stuff, they can’t get around me and stuff, so that’s why (quarterback Bryn Renner) probably likes throwing me the ball. If it’s anywhere within — I don’t know — areas, I gotta get the ball.
DTH: What’s been the biggest difference between this and high school?
BH: It’s more physical. The speed of the game sped up for me. Running the offense is faster, just a faster pace. Same ol’ football though.
DTH: What’s your relationship with other wide receivers?
BH: Oh, great relationships. T.J. Thorpe — my first visit here, we connected just all through it. He gave me his number, I gave him my number. We were texting all through the season last year. And then Quinshad Davis is a guy just like me. We’re just about the same height — I’m a little bit taller — same type of person, same personality. We fit along great. (Ryan) Switzer — he’s like my little brother. We get along real good.
DTH: Did T.J. have any impact on your decision to come here?
BH: Oh yeah. Him and Quinshad Davis, they were real close. We conversated on the regular, so I felt more comfortable, and it felt like family here more than any other place.
DTH: Why UNC over other schools?
BH: Just because, the pace of the offense and the style of the offense — it convinced me to come here more and show what I could do.
DTH: What’s your favorite part about coach Fedora’s system?
BH: With coach Fedora, you never know what you’re gonna get — a lot of energy, it’s exciting and it’s fun. It’s just fun playing his style of offense with him.
DTH: What’s it going to be like to play your first game in Kenan Stadium this weekend?
BH: It’s going to feel good — just go out again and stay focused, and catch the football.