Mr. Football Still Hoping For Buckeye Offer

North Canton (Ohio) Hoover star tailback Erick Howard was one of several recruits hosted by Ohio State on Saturday. Howard, the reigning Mr. Football in Ohio, had an amazing game the previous evening by rushing for 278 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-20 win over Lexington. Bill Greene spoke to Howard and filed this report.

North Canton (Ohio) Hoover tailback Erick Howard was one of several recruits hosted by Ohio State on Saturday night. Howard, who won the coveted Mr. Football award as a junior, was more than impressed by what he saw.

"The game was amazing," Howard told "I've never been inside a stadium this loud before. It was too bad that Ohio State lost but they played well. The quarterback for USC was really good and he handled the pressure really well. I would have loved to have seen Ohio State win the game and kind of silence the doubters but it just wasn't meant to be."

The previous evening Howard led Hoover to a 34-20 victory over Lexington, Ohio. Howard rushed an amazing 48 times and gained 278 yards, adding three touchdowns. He also played well at linebacker and on special teams for the Vikings.

"It was a great game for our team," Howard said. "I'm not tired at all and I could have carried the ball a lot more if my coach wanted me too. Being tired is a sign of being mentally weak. I consider myself a mentally tough player and I just play through it."

Even though the statistics are pretty amazing, Howard wasn't impressed with his performance.

"I would give myself a B minus," he said. "In the first half I wasn't running hard enough and I was playing soft. I had to step it up in the second half. I was trying to cut back way too much and I was trying to juke everybody, instead of playing my style of football. My goal in the second half was to make Lexington not want to tackle me."

Howard has made no secret of his desire for an offer from Ohio State. His trip to Columbus on Saturday was designed to get him closer to that goal.

"Coach [Jim] Tressel has told me if I get a 20 on my ACT and raise my core GPA to 2.4 that he will offer me a scholarship," Howard said. "I already have the 20 on the ACT and I'm working to get my core average up well above that 2.4. Right now I have all A's and one B after the first few weeks. That's where I plan on being throughout the school year. If things don't work out with Ohio State then I'm looking at schools such as Toledo and Michigan State. But my wish list is for that Ohio State offer. I'm really trying to create a little bond with the players and the coaches. I'm most impressed with the quality of the coaching and how much the Ohio State coaches care about their players. I really hope to be a part of that next year."

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