Sun Devils could trip junior college cornerback Antonio Howard for 2017

Arizona State has remaining available 2017 scholarships and a continuing need for additional talent in the secondary. Antonio Howard is one possibility.

Antonio Howard is looking forward to the next chapter of his football career. 

A 5-foot-9, 185 pound defensive back, Howard has had a bumpy journey in the last couple years, but sees a chance for smooth sailing on the near horizon. 

As a high school player in the 2015 class, Howard was committed to West Virginia but found out a week before National Signing Day he wouldn't be able to sign with the program. A flagged college entrance exam test score led Howard to sign with Marshall because of the school's acceptance of partial qualifiers. 

While sitting out the season, Howard tore his ACL in September in practice. He wasn't happy with his experience at the school and decided to drop down to junior college, eventually settling on Independence, Kansas. 

"I was hoping to go to FIU or FAU, be closer to home, but I had to go to junior college," Howard said. "I'm not really trying to be here another season though."

Howard may not have to. Though he had few options ahead of signing day, his prospects have since opened up, with one major caveat. Howard has to show that he's going to be academically able to transfer back to the Division I level for this coming season. 

"I had Louisiana Tech and Ohio but i was iffy with it," Howard said. "I didn't want to sign because it was so quick. I only took the Ohio visit. I'm pretty much going to go bigger than that. When I visited, other schools starting to hit me up, and they told me to wait until after signing day."

Arizona State was the first FBS program to get in touch, Howard said. It was initiated by new ASU offensive coordinator Billy Napier, who apparently remembered Howard from when he visited Napier's previous school, Alabama. 

"I had gone to the spring game at Alabama when he was there and met him," Howard said. "They need defensive backs bad and I'm on the list. "Once I was talking to Arizona State and I guess everybody knew about it, the next day TCU called me, Oklahoma State, Memphis."

Alabama, Oklahoma State and TCU are talking about potential visits, he said. ASU and TCU appear most likely to happen. 

Howard has to get his academics in order to transfer in time for preseason camp. If so, he'd have three seasons to play at the Division I level. If not, Howard will return to Independence and be a mid-year transfer with two years of remaining eligibility. 

"A lot of people were doubting me that I wouldn't bounce back (from the ACL), that I wouldn't be the same, but I pretty much did," Howard said. 

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