Gene Swindoll - GenesPage.com

East Marion star running back Jarveon Howard made a return trip to Starkville this past weekend.

Mississippi State hosted several priority targets this past weekend as the Bulldogs held their annual Maroon and White game. One of the more sought after in state prospects in attendance was East Marion (MS) running back Jarveon Howard

"Things went good up there," Jarveon Howard said. "They were telling me how much they want me up there and that's sort of the same ole same ole. They are always talking like that. I can tell that they really want me to be a part of their program. Coach (D.J.) Looney is always telling me that they want me to be a Bulldog."

Coach Dan Mullen and his staff signed just one running back in the 2017 signing class, Kylin Hill. With a smaller than normal number of grants to fill this recruiting cycle, the Bulldogs are expected to sign just one running back on signing day 2018. 

While Howard has been treated like a priority, the rising senior reports that he expects no guarantees when it comes to playing time. 

"Mississippi State has told me that if I commit there, then they will just shut it all down and not recruit other (running backs)," Howard said. "That doesn't really matter to me, because I am the kind of person that I expect to go in and compete and win the spot. You are always going to have competition and they don't have to shut things down if I commit there. I am not scared of competition and I want to have the best players around me."

During the Maroon and White game, Howard kept a close eye on the current Bulldog backs to see how they were utilized in the Mullen offense. While State used a very limited playbook, Howard saw some things he liked.

"They didn't show a lot during the spring game," Howard said. "They didn't have a lot of big runs, but they ran it hard between the tackles. They were out there getting five or six yards and then falling forward. That's what you expect from good running backs. I like how they run hard and how they fight for all they can get. That's the kind of running back that I am too."

While the Bulldogs remain a top consideration, the Columbia, Mississippi product plans to take his time with the recruiting process. 

"I am not going to rush into anything," Howard said. "I haven't had a chance to get out and really see all of the schools that are recruiting me and I want to be able to see most of them before I make my commitment. 

"I really like Mississippi State. I like the coaches, the campus, the atmosphere and just the whole program. I want to be able to see what other schools have to offer before I decide. This is a big decision and I am not going to rush it. I am going to wait and see how things go before I do anything."

Several schools have already extended scholarships including Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Mississippi State, South Alabama and Southern Miss among others. 

Howard and East Marion will begin spring practice on April 20th with a spring game scheduled in May. The Eagles will look to improve on last year's season that ended in the first round of the state playoffs against Bassfield.