Howard Has that Special BYU Feeling

Brandon Howard knew there was something special about Brigham Young University's from the moment he first set foot on the Provo Campus. That experience left an indelible impression on him throughout the recruiting process and ultimately determined his choice of schools.

"I just felt like BYU was the place for me the second I visited the campus. I just had a feeling there like I didn't anywhere else. I'm not LDS and I've never been to Provo or BYU in my life, but it really felt like home while I was there on my official visit. I knew right there and then that BYU was the place for me."

These are the words of Brandon Howard, a 5-10, 155-pound cornerback recruit from La Sierra high school in California who will sign a letter of intent with BYU tomorrow.

Howard received offers from Colorado, Boise State, Utah, Wyoming and UTEP among other schools, but the decision to sign with BYU came to him very clearly the second one of his other top schools finished their in home visit with Howard.

Howard recalled: "Colorado's coaches came to visit me and offer me a scholarship and it just wasn't the same talking to them as it was talking to Coach Mitchell, Coach Mendenhall and the other coaches at BYU. I was completely open when they visited me in my home, but knew the second they left that BYU was the place I needed to play."

Howard didn't waste time in informing BYU after the Colorado coaches left his home. "I seriously called them minutes after Colorado's coaches left," Howard recounted. "I called Coach Mitchell and then Coach Mendenhall called me back shortly after. Man, it just felt so good. I don't have any doubts in the world that BYU is the place for me."

Howard grew close to wide receivers Joe Griffin and Michael Morris while on his visit in Provo. "Joe [Griffin] was my host on my trip and I really got along with him well," said Howard. "Same thing with Mike (Morris.) They're just great guys and I already feel very close to both of them."

But Griffin and Morris weren't alone in making Howard feel at home. "Everybody I met at BYU was just so great," Howard exclaimed. "BYU is much different than other colleges. You just get a different feeling being there and it's a feeling that I like a lot. Everybody is just so nice and friendly."

Howard is familiar with religious environments growing up a devout Baptist while being active in a church where his grandfather is a pastor. Said Howard: "BYU's religious values are very similar to mine as a Baptist. I don't smoke, drink or anything. Never have and never will, so going to a school that doesn't allow that is exactly what I want. I'm a very religious person and attending a school that will promote my Christian beliefs is something that I want and I have that with BYU."

BYU's academics are also a big draw for Howard. "Getting a degree at BYU means something," he said. "They have a great reputation for academics. When I get my degree at BYU in whatever I choose to major in I know it will mean something. People know that a BYU degree is a great degree, so that's something that really appeals to me."

But Howard can also play some very good football. "Brandon is just a great player," said his high school coach Tong Barile. "He catches on to everything so fast. He's extremely athletic, one of the most athletic guys I've ever coached, he runs great routes and just has a great feel for whatever we do out on the field. He's just a natural football player. Has great football sense and just knows what to do instinctively and you just can't teach that to some kids. He's also a great young man and will be a credit to BYU."

Howard ran a 4.4 forty at USC's summer camp this past summer with a broken toe and insists that he can run a 4.3 or even lower. "4.4 wasn't bad, but I know for sure I can run it faster than that," Howard stated. "My toe was bothering me so much and I reinjured it when I ran the forty there. I'm positive that I can regularly run a 4.3 or lower."

Although Howard played mostly at wide receiver in high school, just about every school offered him as a cornerback. "If that's where they think I can help most, then that's where I'll play," said Howard. "I'm very confident playing defense and like it."

One of Howard's biggest challenges will be getting his weight up increasing his muscle mass as he's only 155 pounds right now. "Oh, I know I need to get bigger," laughed Howard. "I'll work very hard at getting bigger this summer. My goal is to report to BYU weighing at least 165. I know I can do that."

Howard is very impressed with Coach Mendenhall and thinks he can fit right into the system he runs. "He's very straight-forward and says that if I show the effort he demands while showing that I can make plays that I'll play my first year," Howard said. " So that's my goal, to contribute my first year. I know BYU is sort of thin at corner, so hopefully I'll get that chance. I know that I'll play, but if not, then that's how it goes. I trust Coach Mendenhall and I know that if I'm ready then I'll play my first year. I just know that I'm going to give it everything I have. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to play for a great school like BYU and I wish I could be there right now. I just can't wait."

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