Little is known about Howell’s part, outside of the fact that his character is called Ray. As EW speculates, Ray could refer to Ray Cooper, the father of Peter Parker’s current girlfriend in the comic book continuity, Carlie Cooper. There was also a Ray Walker in the 1999 Peter Parker: Spider-Man #35. The story, "Heroes Don’t Cry," depicted (in a child’s imagination) an African American Spider-Man under the mask and the issue was cited quite a bit online last year following actor Donald Glover’s public pusuit of the Parker role.
Of course, it is also likely that the part is one written specifically for the film and, at this stage, it is unknown exactly how large or small it might be.
What is known is that Howell will join Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Julianne Nicholson, Irrfan Khan, Annie Parisse and Chris Zylka in the 3D film, scheduled for release on July 3, 2012.