Because he is committed, Steven Howard doesn't have to worry about his college recruitment. Although he expected the process to drag out far longer then it did, NC State's early commitment to him is what led to Howard's quick pledge to the Wolfpack.
"State offered me last September," he said. "I was surprised because I didn't know much about State back then, and I don't think they could have known much about me. They just came out and offered me without really seeing a lot of film. I was shocked, but that stuck with me.
"It meant a lot. It was real special because they didn't really see too much of me. I understand Wake [Forest] offering me that early because they saw me in action at a passing tournament at camp, but State didn't see me there. It was special."
Howard had offers on the table from NC State, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt before verbaling to the Wolfpack in April. He had been a fan of Florida's high-powered offense, but after talking with Olympic head coach Maurice Flowers he felt NC State was the best place for him.
"I had a talk with my coach, and he told me to look for the best fit for me," said Howard. "I was going to try and wait and go to a place like Florida, but I didn't want to go somewhere and have to definitely redshirt. I knew NC State was that place for me. It's close to home… I wanted to stay in North Carolina too so that was big for me.
|"I'm a competitive guy, but I wanted to look out for myself."|
"It was important staying in-state because I think I will definitely get a fair shot. Going to a place like Florida, maybe they will play the guys from Florida over me… maybe they will have the advantage. I wouldn't have to worry about that at State. I'm a competitive guy, but I wanted to look out for myself."
What else attracted Howard to NC State?
"I love how they always have a great defense. I love schools that have good defenses because you can't win a championship without a great defense. Their offense has been good, a smash-mouth offense, but they have the total package for me. I really just liked how they have a strong defense though."
Landing in-state players like Howard has been a priority for NC State this season. Criticized by local media, and at times even by Wolfpack fans, for avoiding players from North Carolina to target Florida prospects, Amato is looking to reestablish the Wolfpack's presence in its home state with the 2007 class. Howard admitted that even he has noticed the change and believes there is a method behind the Wolfpack's philosophy.
"I'll get on the computer and look on Scout.com and see who we have committed," he said. "I think we're getting a strong squad. We've picked up some good people… people I didn't even know we had offered yet."
"It's real good that we've got some good in-state players," Howard added. "I think all of us will work hard and really try to win because we want to represent our city… represent our home state."