After taking part in the Ohio North-South All-Star Classic, the two-time reigning Associated Press Ohio Mr. Football from North Canton Hoover said he had an epiphany about a week ago that led him to change his college plans.
"I signed with Akron, (but) they're going to be a little mad at me because I had an epiphany and decided that I'm going to go to a prep school because I want to come here," Howard told BuckeyeSports.com. "(Head coach Jim) Tressel has been on me to come. I need to quit being lazy."
After rushing for 2,056 yards and 27 touchdowns in 11 games as a senior, Howard was set to become a Zip after not qualifying academically to play in Columbus. Although he had been recruited by the Buckeyes, they never issued a scholarship offer.
However, Howard said Tressel never stopped in his pursuit of the 5-11, 225-pound back. The plan is for Howard to enroll at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy on August 17 and join the Buckeyes for spring courses next season.
OSU just got one player from Fork Union this winter as running back Carlos Hyde spent time there after failing to pass admissions out of high school. Howard said Tressel has had the two speak.
The decision was made that Howard needed more discipline and that he would receive it at Fork Union.
"He told me what it was about to give me an idea to see if I really wanted to do it or not and if I could mentally take it or not," Howard said. "It's something that I figure would make me a better person because I've lost that self-discipline that I used to have. Even something simple like getting up for school in the morning became harder this year than it was in the past."
Howard said it has always been his dream to play at Ohio Stadium.
"It would look better on a job application that I got a four-year degree from Ohio State versus Akron," he said. "I'd have better networking and I'd know more people and things like that."
Scout.com ranks Howard as a four-star prospect and the No. 24 running back in the nation. He is the all-time leading rusher in Stark County history with 6,013 yards and 79 touchdowns.
The running back said it was a lack of self discipline that put him in his current hole but added that he is willing to put in the work to dig his way out. The thought of three hours of marching in the sun, two hours of mandatory reading and a loss of cell phone privileges are sacrifices Howard said he is willing to make for the chance to play in Columbus.
"I lost sight at first and didn't have things under control and I was like, ‘What am I really going to do?' so I just tried to take the easy way out and commit to Akron and go play there," he said. "That's just making things harder on myself because I want to go to the NFL. My chances of going to the NFL from Akron are a little less than it would be if I go here.
"Playing here is something that I would truly love."