Howard Commits Following Visit

Shortly after returning home from the school on Sunday evening, Johnathan Howard committed to North Carolina.

"I just committed to North Carolina," Howard said. "I was going to commit right after I left, but my dad told me to give it a night. So I slept on it. I woke up [this morning] and told him I was tired of waiting, but we decided to talk about it more on the ride home."

Howard, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound wide receiver from Rochelle (Ga.) Wilcox County, selected UNC over Louisville, Kentucky, and NC State.

"Basically, [Saturday's visit to UNC] was the best visit I've ever been on," Howard said. "I knew North Carolina was always a good school. Great academics, facilities and all were all prefect. The guys that they're recruiting in this class, I see something special happening with North Carolina. So I'd be glad to be a part of it. I have a great relationship with Coach [Gunter] Brewer and Coach Vic [Koenning]. And talking to Coach [Larry] Fedora I knew that everything is real up there. My dad and – I call him my second dad – Johnny Dixon those guys liked the visit, too."

Approximately a month ago, UNC emerged as a leader for Howard – before he had ever taken a recruiting visit to the school (he did previously attend an AAU basketball tournament on the campus). Howard credits his relationship with Koenning for pushing UNC into that position.

"I just felt more comfortable with him and talking to him than most of the other coaches," Howard said.

After driving through the early morning, Howard, his father, his "second father," and teammate Johnny Dwight arrived at UNC just before noon on Saturday. Immediately, they were given a tour of the campus.

"Actually, the academic facilities stood out," Howard said. "Everything was nice. It's one of the top academic universities in the country. So it's a good place to get an education."

A meeting with Brewer followed the tour.

"He was talking about how he had coached a lot of wide receivers – he's one of the top wide receiver coaches," Howard said. "He got all kind of guys in the league – Randy Moss, Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon."

Much of Howard's visit was spent in Kenan Stadium watching UNC's 27-6 victory over in-state rival East Carolina.

"The atmosphere felt like it was in the sky – the colors just brings the whole place out," Howard said. "The fans were very nice. It was a great atmosphere to be in.

"The offense fits me perfectly. They throw the ball about 60-percent of the time. They have good quarterbacks."

For most of his time in Kenan, Howard was with UNC pledge R.J. Prince.

"Basically, we were just talking about high school and how they're 1A, too," Howard said. "We were talking about our state championship rings. He was asking me stuff about my school. We're pretty much like the same people. I think he said they have 420 students – we have like 350. Basically, we were just talking about recruiting and the places we've been and how the schools looked."

Before the football game, Howard met briefly with Fedora. A second - much longer - meeting took place after UNC's win.

"He was telling me how they were looking for a big time receiver, because I think after [Erik Highsmith] leaves, they're going to have one or two guys over 6-foot," Howard said. "So he's looking for a big target and I was going to be his No. 1 choice.

"And [he talked about] with the offense that he runs, I'll fit in great. Basically, he was saying when I get on campus early playing time will be there. He's not trying to promise me anything, but he's looking for me to play right off the bat."

With Howard's verbal commitment, UNC, which is limited 20 initial counters for each of the next two classes due to NCAA sanctions, has 19 verbal commitments.

"I think they said there was one more spot that was open and they wanted to get a receiver and they wanted it to be me as a big receiver," Howard said.

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