1-on-1 with D.J. Howard: (2:28)
Listen to the press conference: Listen to Audio (17:14)
After trying on an Auburn hat, a Kentucky, and an orange Clemson hat two separate times, Lincoln, Ala. native D.J. Howard pulled out another Clemson hat out of a bag and ultimately signed with the Tigers Wednesday morning at his high school.
CUTigers.com was there live to broadcast the announcement, before catching up with him afterwards for a 1-on-1 interview:
Alabama native D.J. Howard is pictured here just moments after announcing he would sign with Clemson. (Roy Philpott)
Howard: I feel like I made the best decision in the end. I feel like I'm going to a school where they care about me. It's a school where they are going to show me a lot of love and support and that was very important.
Was playing running back something that was important to you?
Howard: It was big. Auburn wanted me as an athlete. As a running back I wanted more. That's what I do- I run the ball. I called Clemson and told them I'm interested in y'all. Then Coach Harbison came down here. Coach Powell came down here and then Coach Swinney came to see me a few weeks ago. Coach Swinney is a down-home guy. He's "from 'Bama" as they would say.
How does it feel to finally get this decision behind you?
Howard: It was stressful. I remember nights ... where I'm laying in bed and my head feels like the size of a football field. In the end I thought about it like this - I need to go somewhere where I look at the big picture and where it's going to benefit me in the long run. I had to look at the big picture. It didn't necessarily have to be somewhere I feel comfortable- but somewhere that benefited me more looking at the big picture.
Was this an emotional decision- especially talking with your family afterwards?
Howard: Yeah it was emotional. A lot of people didn't know what was going on. They thought I was going to Auburn. My coach, my best friend Brent Hall - they all knew where I was going. So I told them up front but yeah it was emotional.
What's next for you after this announcement? Will you be running track in the spring?
Howard: I run track every year. I like to compete. I do the 100m, 200m, long jump and the shot-put. I won the state in the 200 and the shot-put and the long jump.