Scout Rating: ***
Scout Rank: 84
Size: 6-6, 248
Keystone Heights, Fla.
Stats: 4.84 40
Projected position at OM: Offensive Tackle
Accolades: Rated a 4-star prospect and ranked 239th on the ESPN 300 list … Listed as a 3-star prospect by the other major recruiting services … ESPN.com also tabbed him as the nation’s No. 25 offensive tackle and the No. 44 overall player in Florida … Rated the No. 16 prospect in the Jacksonville area by the Florida Times-Union … Named Class 5A All-State after leading Clay to a 10-2 record his senior year … Coached in high school by Josh Hoekstra.
Recruiting Competition: The tall and talented Howard possessed many offers over the past year from the likes of Florida, Missouri, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee, in addition to the Ole Miss Rebels. Offensive lineman of his quality are in high demand, and many other schools had him on their wish list, such as California, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida, Florida International, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon State, South Florida, Central Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Ole Miss returns several veteran offensive linemen for the 2015 season, but the Rebel coaches also placed high emphasis on finding talented offensive linemen for the class, such as Howard. He actually committed to Ole Miss only a few hours after junior college quarterback Chad Kelly committed to the Rebels on that December day.
Quotable: “My intensity and effort are my biggest strengths. I can always improve in certain aspects, like how I block, but the effort is there and that's all that really matters. You can't really coach effort. Just finding out the guy that Coach Freeze was, that's the guy I want to play for. (Prior to deciding) I am looking at the type of offense, but academics are No. 1 for me in my decision. I am also looking at how I fit into the program overall and just where I feel the best at."
Scouting Report: Michael Howard is a lean tackle with good feet and balance. He is a former tight end, so he’s definitely athletic. He still needs to add a significant amount of weight to be ready to compete at the next level of competition. He knows how to block and he really fires off the ball well. He has fire and intensity on the football field. He likes to compete. He likes to win battles and will do his job until the whistle blows. Howard has been a big part of one of the Jacksonville, Fla., area’s strongest rushing attacks over the past two seasons while playing for Clay High School. The Blue Devils were an impressive 10-2 this past season.
Coach Hugh Freeze Quote: “We fell in love with this young man quickly. I watched him clean and jerk 325 pounds and that’s all I needed to see. He’s tough, he’s athletic and I think the sky is the limit for him. We talk about length all the time for tackles and Michael has plenty of that at 6-6. We believe we have a jewel in this young man.”
Signee Spotlight: Michael Howard
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