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He’s left so much to be desired in two seasons, but Saturday’s meeting against Wisconsin could be a defininf moment for Alabama’s junior tight end O.J. Howard.

Tanner McEvoy, 6-foot-6, 231 pounds, would be the Badgers’ lone option to check Howard; however, the converted safety will line up at wide receiver. This move leaves a hole in the middle of the field for Alabama to exploit.

Howard, 6-foot-6, 242 pounds, presents a matchup nightmare for Wisconsin’s secondary.

Senior safety Michael Caputo stands at 6-foot-1, 206 pounds, but everyone else is smaller.

Alabama’s senior quarterback Jake Coker has to target Howard early and often. His confidence grows when he is consistently involved in the flow of the offense. Howard’s size becomes critical in the red-zone and on third down situations. A clean pocket gives Coker a chance to survey the field and connect with Howard for first down yardage.

He’s caught 31 passes for 529 yards and three touchdowns in 27 career games, but Howard’s road to being a projected first-round draft pick starts against Wisconsin.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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