@PattM5997 congrats boy! We are going to have some fun these next four years! So happy for you ????— Trevor Howard (@t_howard96) January 28, 2015
Howard went to elementary school with both the Mekari brothers – including older brother Tony Mekari -- and, he said, the three “grew up together.”
They just happened to attend rival high schools. Now, though, they'll be pulling on the same uniform on Saturdays.
“I was extremely happy for him, because I know how special it was for him and his family to be able to play with his brother,” Howard said. “Also, that’s another Mekari I get to spend four years with.”
Howard made his official visit this past weekend, and spoke with BearTerritory earlier this week about the trip – by his estimation, his seventh or eighth to Berkeley. He’ll make another trip for the April 18 spring game.
“It was pretty much the same,” said Howard, who’s been committed to the Bears since August 10. “They had a lot of different stuff set up for us in our hotel, and we had our hosts, but I think the main thing that was different was that I actually got to meet all the recruits, instead of just texting. I got to actually meet the kids I’m going to play with. That was really cool.”
Howard, along with fellow future Cal defensive linemen Zeandae Johnson and Russell Ude, enjoyed a close bond over the weekend, which will see them and fellow longtime commit Malik Psalms become suitemates this fall.
“I was talking with some of the guys, and I spent most of my time with Russell Ude, Zeandae and Malik Psalms, and those are the guys I’m going to be rooming with,” Howard said. “They’re all really, really good kids. I’m really excited. I got to meet a lot of them that I didn’t really know – Greyson Bankhead, Cameron Saffle, I met the kid from Hawaii, and I’m not going to even try to say his name (Kanawai Noa, pronounced Kana-VAH-ee). They’re all really good kids, and I’m very, very excited that I get to play with them.”
Howard has grown since he committed, from 6-oot-3, 224 pounds to 6-foot-4, 232 pounds, and is making a lot of progress with his torn knee.
“The knee’s actually doing really well,” said Howard, who tore his ACL early in the season. “I’m very, very ahead of schedule and everything. I’m actually starting to do some agility, jumping-type stuff, so I’m making very good progress, and I’m very excited to see the outcome, because I know it’s going to be good.”
Howard’s knee hampered him during the group’s trip to the Pier 39 arcade, where he lost a Pop-a-Shot game to his host, Noah Westerfield.
“It was a good time. We got to let loose a little it, and that was fun,” Howard said. “We got a little competitive with some of the arcade games, but it was all in good fun. I really enjoyed that. My host, Noah Westerfield, challenged me to one of the basketball shooting games, so I had to go in there and play him a little bit. He did beat me, but I’m going to get him next time.”
That said, he still enjoyed tooling around Berkeley with Westerfield. In fact, he said, it was the most memorable part of the weekend.
“Having fun, clowning around and bonding, that was really the highlight of my trip,” Howard said. “I really got to bond with a lot of the kids, specifically Russell, Malik, Zeandae and Cameron. They’re all really, really good kids, and I’m very excited that I get the opportunity to play with them.”
How’s Westerfield as a host?
“Noah,” Howard laughed, “I knew Noah a little bit before my official. He’s kind of like my older brother, up there. He’s just the coolest kid, and he took me around, showed me everything, introduced me to people. He was the best.”
Because Howard is a veteran of so many trips to Berkeley, he got to serve as an extra tour guide.
“It was kind of redundant, especially the campus tour and everything like that, but it was great, just to see everything again and be reminded about how blessed I am to be able to attend California-Berkeley,” Howard said.
Seeing all that he’d seen before took on a new meaning, when he got to see it through the eyes of those who had yet to experience what he’d already experienced so many times before.
“I could tell that they were very impressed, and that definitely helped; I’m sure that helped their decision-making,” Howard said. “I know it helped with Brandon Singleton. That’s why he jumped in. I think Carlos Strickland committed while we were there, as well. He wasn’t there, but I remember him being added to the group text, because he was committing. I’m very excited. I know as soon as he gets up here, he’ll know that he made the right decision.”
While most of the uncommitted players on the trip have made their intentions known, there are still a few outstanding.
“A.D. Miller was probably the quietest person I’ve ever met in my entire life, but he was a really cool kid,” Howard said. “Jaylinn Hawkins was also there, and he’s a really good kid, and he’s quiet too. I can tell that they are all excited to come up, and they all want to jump in the boat, too.”