Illini OC Garrick McGee gives his Jordan Howard recruiting story

Illinois offensive coordinator Garrick McGee recruited Jordan Howard to UAB when he was head coach of the Blazers. Following Howard's break-out 111-yard performance against the Detroit Lions, McGee discussed the promising Chicago Bears rookie with Illini Inquirer.

On recruiting Howard to UAB

"No one else recruited him. It was an amazing thing. I offered Jordan the Signing Day before his senior year. On National Signing Day, we have a deal that we call some of the top juniors we're looking for and get them on the phone and offering them. He was the one that I said, 'This is the guy we want.' It was Jordan Howard. Great mother. Sister went to UAB. He's a great kid. I was always worried that we're going to offer him this early because he's exactly what we're looking for, but they (bigger schools) are going to come after this guy. We got throughout the process and kept going and no one offered. No one went after him. We got fortunate and got him. Then he got there the first couple days. I told Kevin Johns and Kevin Wilson (who coached Howard at Indiana) the same thing about him that his first couple of days of working out and training, 'You're not going to like him because he's not going to be the first guy on the line. He's not going to look like he's very tough.' But when that game starts, that kid is a physical running back, and he knows how to fit his big body into small cracks. He has a lot. And you know what? Until you get to the game, you don't really know what you're going to get. Then you get in the game and he's really hard to stop."

On how much he advised Howard after UAB shut down football, allowing Howard to transfer

"My running backs coach, Eric Evans, he was with me and Kevin Johns at Northwestern and he coached Jordan. Kevin (an Indiana assistant) probably thought we wanted him at Louisville down there. So Kevin went through Eric, but we had a bunch of running backs (at Louisville), and I was just happy that Jordan got to play for Kevin, who was a really good friend of mine."

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