What Jersey Will Harris Howard Wear On TV?

Harris Howard was watching a Notre Dame football game on NBC this past season, and during one of the sideline shots, he saw his former Blessed Trinity High School teammate and Irish backup punter Eric Maust standing on the sideline. There could maybe come a time when someone from back home in Alpharetta, Ga., sees Howard wearing the blue and gold on national television.

Notre Dame is sending Harris Howard, one of the top offensive lineman in the class of 2008 a lot of mail.

"I get plenty of mail, but it's just mail, what can you say," Howard said. "I get letters from there it seems like two or three times a week. I sent my game film to them. They sent me video cassettes early in the season.

"I've been invited to go to their summer football camp."

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Howard was Maust's left tackle when the two played together at Blessed Trinity. Maust is actually at Notre Dame as a pitcher on a baseball scholarship. He is a walk-on punter. The two haven't gotten a chance to talk much about Notre Dame and Howard's recruitment.

When they do talk, there will be lots to talk about. Howard, who is being recruited by most schools to play guard, is getting a lot of mail from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Alabama, Purdue, North Carolina, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He doesn't have any scholarship offers yet.

"We'll see what happens in the spring," Howard said. "I am looking to commit early because I think that's what's easiest for me. It makes playing your senior season a lot less stressful. I just want to worry about my team and not that other stuff."

Howard estimated that Blessed Trinity sends three or four graduates to Notre Dame a year. That is one of the things that makes South Bend intriguing to him.

"I know they've won 11 national championships," Howard said. "I know the tradition is big there. I want to be a part of that tradition. In my college choice, I want to be a part of tradition or be a part of building a tradition. Going to Notre Dame would be a great opportunity academically, and to play for a top-10 team.

"I'm trying to keep it open, as far as any decision. I like the University of Notre Dame from the connection to my school and the prestige. I know a former player from their National Championship team, Andre Jones, who is a coach in Atlanta. It's really the name on the diploma, and the education is excellent."

Jones started at linebacker his senior year in 1989. He is a local coach, but has no ties to a high school. He worked with Howard, when he was in eighth and ninth grade. Howard has also seen Jones on ESPN Classic in an Irish uniform.

"He was excited to hear that they are sending letters, but we haven't had a chance to seriously talk about Notre Dame," Howard said.

This past season, Howard had 40 pancake blocks and made a quality block 92 percent of the time.

"He's got real good feet," Blessed Trinity head coach Ricky Turner said. "For a big guy, he also has a good wing span with his arms. He'll attack you, he'll come after you. He has a mean streak in him where in our running game he is going to come after you and knock you off the ball. And we run the ball 90 percent of the time."

Howard tries to coax Turner into letting him play guard on a few downs, but the team needs him at left tackle.

"I've lined up as a guard on a couple plays and stuff like that," Howard said. "It's something different, but it's a challenge and something I want to go for. I always beg my coach to go in, but we don't have anybody to replace me at tackle. Footwork is the emphasis at guard, I'm working on all that stuff right now for when I go to camps."

Howard has been to camps at Georgia, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt. He doesn't remember his 40-yard dash time, but said he has run a 5.2. He says he can bench press 305 pounds, and squat 405 pounds. He also reports a 89 percent grade average on a scale of 100.

Howard isn't sure if he will make it up for that Notre Dame camp he is invited to this summer.

"It's definitely something to think about," Howard said. "Really, it's just flying up there that would be the difficulty, the logistics of going up there for a camp. No decision has been made yet, it will be a family decision."

Coming up real quick, there will be a lot of decisions discussed among the family regarding Howard's recruitment, and what jersey he‘ll eventually wear on television.

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