The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Penn football wide receiver Malone Howley — who has been having a breakout season this year with 15 receptions for 186 yards and a touchdown through four games — to ask 15 questions about his football career and his life outside the gridiron. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Malone Howley, I’m from Signal Mountain, Tenn., and I am a senior in the College studying PPE and minoring in legal studies.
2. What are your thoughts on the season so far for the team and for you as an individual?
So far, off to a great start. It’s really exciting because we got a big win over Dartmouth, and everybody’s very excited knowing that we’re going to do well in the Ivy League and keep the momentum going and ultimately try to bring home the championship.
Individually, it’s been so much fun. Last year, I wasn’t involved as much in the offense, and I struggled a little bit more. So this season’s been a ton of fun getting to learn on the field, and I just feel like as an offense we’re getting better every single game. So that confidence is just building.
3. Being a senior now, who were some players who mentored you earlier on?
The wideouts are a very tight-knit group. We’ve had a lot of really good players come through here, like Ryan Cragun; he was actually my official visit host, so he was a big mentor to me the last couple of years. [Rory] Starkey [Jr.] too; we actually played the same position the last two years, so I learned a lot playing behind him — he’s just a beast.
4. Who would you say is your pro-comp in the NFL?
I want to say A.J. Brown, but he’s got a little more muscle mass than me. So maybe A.J. Brown if I put on about 15 pounds.
5. Favorite route to run?
I like deep routes. Give me a post any day of the week, you set the corner up, and at that point, it’s just a foot race. That’s definitely my favorite route to run.
6. You’ve changed uniform numbers a few times at Penn. What’s the story there?
My high school number was four, and that was my number my whole time as a kid, so I came in wanting four but some people had it, so I was wearing 85 my freshman year. Then, junior year, they gave me four for a few weeks in the preseason, but then because I was on special teams and Kendren [Smith] was already wearing four, so I picked 19. At this point, I had my childhood number, and 19 has become my college number. Everything happens for a reason, and now I’m glad that I’m 19.
7. Who is the funniest player on the team?
We’ve got a lot of funny guys. That’s a good question. I definitely think Josh Casilli, Aidan Nash, and Tysen Comizio.
8. Do you have a pre-game pump up song?
I have a very interesting pre-game playlist. It’s like an hour and 50 minutes long, and I time it so that the last song starts right before the game. It builds up, but it’s anything from “Yellow” by Coldplay to “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, and then right before I come out of the locker room, my go-to song is “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" by Journey.
9. Favorite place to get food on campus?
I’ve been on a big Bonchon kick lately. Those soy garlic wings are good. And then my go-to right after practice is always Tyson Bees. I get chicken over rice with extra meat, light sauce, no chickpeas. I know I probably should get chickpeas but sometimes I’ll switch it up and get half chicken, half rice.
10. What’s your favorite movie or TV show ever?
My favorite TV show is "Peaky Blinders," it’s just so good. I have a couple favorite movies — I really like the Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino movies — and then pretty much anything with Leo [DiCaprio] or Brad Pitt is always good. McConaughey too. But I have this thing where if I watch a movie, there’s a good chance I’m going to like it. I just get into the stories and I just like movies. So "Inception" is a great one, "Interstellar," "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" [all are great].
11. If you could catch passes from any quarterback, active or retired, who would it be?
I feel like I would do really well catching balls from Tom Brady. He just makes all of his receivers look so good. That’s the G.O.A.T., you know, so catching passes from Tom Brady would be pretty cool.
12. What was it like adjusting to a new offense with Dan Swanstrom this year?
It was a big adjustment for me because I was actually playing inside receiver the last couple years, and they moved me to outside [this year], which I’ve adjusted really well to, which is awesome. I feel like it more fits my skill set.
The offense in general, it’s been a big adjustment, but it was very needed and very welcomed, and I think we’ve done a really good job with it. Aidan Sayin makes everybody better, and getting a connection with him has been key.
13. What was your recruitment process like?
Funnily enough, I only played high school football my senior year; I was a big basketball player in high school. I played [football] as a kid and in middle school, but I played running back, then I hit a growth spurt in sophomore year and my buddies were like, “Dude, you need to come out for senior year.”
So when I went out senior year, I realized I was a little bit better at football than basketball. [Recruitment] was a whirlwind. I remember my junior summer I went to a basketball camp at Brown and tried to get recruited, but basketball’s really hard to get recruited for because the teams are so small.
But once I got into [football], about three or four games into the year, I thought if I put a little highlight tape together, maybe I can get some schools to get interested. So it started out as like D-III schools were kind of calling, and then, towards the end of the year, I got my D-I first offer, and once you get one, the dominoes start to fall a bit, so I was really fortunate.
But it was an insane three months because I went from basically not playing the sport to, wow, I might play it in [college].
14. What’s one thing that normal Penn students don’t know about what it’s like to be a football player here?
The mornings, man, the mornings will get you. We wake up at probably 5:50 a.m. every day. It’s a constant juggling act between football, school, and living like a normal person as well. It’s all about the sleep schedule. If you don’t have a solid sleep schedule, you’re going to be struggling a little bit.
15. What is your score prediction for the Columbia game this weekend?
Columbia has a really good defense, but we’ve been moving really well on offense. I’d love to see something like 28-14; I think that’s realistic.