Howell's commitment makes him the 18th pledge for the Texas Class of 2009. His commitment comes as no surprise, given that he's consistently had the Longhorns atop his list throughout the recruiting process, but he was waiting on someone very important to him: his mother.
On Monday, Howell's mother finally had an opportunity to travel to Austin and meet with the Texas coaching staff. According to Howell, the visit went very well.
"She really, really liked it," said Howell.
She liked it so much so that Howell was not the one to give Mack Brown his commitment. On Wednesday, Felicia Howell called Brown to let him know that her son was headed to Texas. In fact, the first time Howell spoke with a Texas coach after his commitment was when assistants Duane Akina and Mike Tollison traveled down to San Antonio on Thursday to see Howell at practice.
But what will the four-star defensive tackle bring to the team when he finally arrives on the 40 Acres?
Howell was deflective initially when it came to praising himself and rather focused on his future teammates.
"There's no 'I' in team. What I'm concerned about is what we're going to bring as a class," said Howell. "It's a great class. We're like the group that had Vince Young in it. This group is going to be that good."
When pressed, the 6-4, 280-pound defensive tackle did describe the best things he brings to the table.
"I'm a beast in the middle," said Howell. "I'm such a physical player. I've got speed, I'm pretty fast, and have good hand-work, good pad-level. I'm just hard to stop."
His speed is definitely one of his strongest advantages. Despite weighing 280 pounds, Howell had already been running the forty in under five seconds, earlier reporting a time of 4.91. In practice this week, though, he bested his old mark and got his 40 time down to a 4.88, which is flying for any lineman.
Texas has not been specific on which position he will play, but given his 6-4 height, Howell will likely find himself at the three-technique -- or, standard defensive tackle -- position, but the big man says he's got the ability to play all over the defensive line.
"At my school, I play nose tackle, DT, even out on the edge at 9-technique (defensive end)," said Howell.
Regardless of where he ends up at Texas, Howell is excited he's going to be wearing the Burnt Orange and is giving thanks to those closest to him for the opportunities he has in his football life.
"I just want to give a shout out to my family," said the jubilant defensive tackle.
Howell said he wanted to especially thank his mother Felicia, his father Calvin Sr. and his sisters, Neat and Vonni, for all the love and support they've given him.
"They've been really involved in what I do and they support me so much," said Howell. "They're so special. I know not everybody has a family like I do, so I just appreciate them so much."
Now, Howell is joining the Longhorn family.