The first dream didn't last long.
"At first, I played quarterback," Howell said. "I started playing when I was 15 and I thought I was going to be a great quarterback, but then I kept getting bigger and bigger. People then started telling me that with my quickness and agility that I should try the defensive line. I figured ‘why not' so I moved there and have been playing that position ever since."
Howell also competes in track, where he throws the shot put and discus. His best throw was 52 feet as a sophomore with the shot, and he threw the discus 169 feet as a junior.
Measured at the NIKE Camp in April at 6-foot-5 and 296 pounds, Howell did not run the timing drills due to a hamstring injury at the time.
Inside the classroom, Howell carries a 2.7 core GPA and scored an 830 on the first crack at the SAT. He took it again on Saturday.
Howell told me two months ago that he made an early commitment to the University of Miami.
"I'm still committed to Miami," he said. "When I met the coaches on my (unofficial) visit there, they were saying how they'll be coming by my school to watch me in May. So they had a coach come by my school to watch practice and all that."
Howell said he didn't receive many recruiting calls during May.
"Florida, Auburn, and Tennessee called," he said. "BYU has sent me a scholarship offer in the mail. Miami also told me that I have one available."
Howell said he's already informed the Miami coaches that he plans on checking out some other schools before making everything official.
"I'm still solid with Miami," he said. "But I told them I will be taking some visits to some other schools to see what I think."
Howell said those visits would probably be to Florida, Auburn, and possibly BYU, where his brother – O'Neil – is a starting defensive back.
Howell, who says Miami is recruiting him as a defensive tackle, is gearing up for the next level. When asked about his goals this coming season, he offered some insights.
"I just want to improve," he said. "I've already accomplished a lot in high school and now I'm getting ready to play in college."
Howell plans on attending the UM summer camp later this month.
Personally, it sounds like Howell's interested in taking some other trips. Perhaps he can earn a written scholarship offer from Miami with a strong performance at their summer camp, especially with the competition he'll see there.