Howard to wear No. 22

D.J. Howard is a running back, so how could you blame him for wanting to put the finishing touches up on his high school track career this spring?

RB D.J. Howard Profile

Last week, Howard finished second in the Alabama state 4-A 200-meter final with a time of 22.20.

Now that track is over, he can pay full attention to lifting weights. Howard admitted he wasn't lifting as hard as he should have been during track season.

"I didn't want any muscle fatigue going on during track," he said.

But track season is over. It's football season now.

"I'm going to be back in the weight room harder than ever, working out two or three times a day," Howard said.

Make no mistake, he's happy for the chance to play running back at Clemson. That wasn't always a guarantee at the in-state school that was his first choice.

Originally an Auburn commit, Howard began looking elsewhere upon realizing he was likely bound for safety at Auburn. On signing day, he inked with Clemson.

He's enjoyed the first three months of life as a Clemson Tiger.

"There's a lot of pressure off. I'm in my comfort zone now," Howard said. "I'm just ready to get (to Clemson)."

Every day he's reminded by someone of where he's heading and what he'll be doing in a couple of months.

Howard humbly plays down the excitement.

"I'm going somewhere to get an education and play football," he said. "I really don't look like (it's a big deal). I'm just happy I get to go somewhere and play."

Once Howard settles in at Clemson, that's when he'll begin bracing himself for that moment when it hits him—he's playing big-time college football.

For now, he's still enjoying life at Lincoln High School, where he's been named most athletic in his class and was homecoming king in the fall.

Howard said everything's all squared away and ready to go in the classroom too.

"(Defensive backs) coach (Charlie) Harbison is bringing us in on July 8th," he said.

He often talks with fellow Alabama signees Desmond Brown and Demont Buice, who were also reeled in by Harbison.

"We talk about what it's going to be like when we get up there. What are plans are and how we're going to do what we're going to do," Howard said.

He will wear No. 22, the same number he's worn since he first played football as a five-year-old.

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