Howard's Choice

Darrien Howard had been thinking about West Virginia ever since his past visit to campus, and after careful consideration decided to make the Mountaineers his choice.

The powerful linebacker, who had West Virginia at the top of his list ever since his spring visit, had been putting a good deal of thought into WVU, and ended the recruiting process by announcing his intentions to the WVU coaching staff on Friday.

"I've been thinking about it after my visit, but I wanted to take my time and think about," the rising senior from Chaminade Julienne High School said. "It seemed like the time was right now. My family and coaches knew I liked West Virginia a lot from how I reacted after my visit, and I talked with them some about it, but tt was mainly my decision. My family figured I was going to go there – they weren't surprised."

Howard, who answers questions directly and with confidence, appreciated the treatment that he got from assistant coach Billl Bedenbaugh, who showed similar qualities in his dealings with him.

"He's a very straightforward guy," howard siad of West Virginia's offensive line coach. "He told me the truth about West Virginia, and I felt like he didn't steer me wrong. He told me about the family environment there, and how the players get along. He also told me about the community, and how they are behind the players 110%. I saw all of that when I went there on my visit."

That confirmation just served to strengthen Howard's good feelings for West Virginia, and the opportunities he saw as an inside linebacker in W VU's revamped defense made his likings even better. He has played defense and inside linebacker for his entire career, and looks forward to playing the position and learning the new system at West Virginia.

"I love defense. I wouldn't trade it for offense for anything," said Howard, who racked up 14 tackles as a junior. "I see myself fitting in well in that system. We'll change it up a lot, and I can adjust well with that defense.

"Tackling has always been my strength," he continued. "I'm very good in between the tackles. I've always loved hitting – I'll hit anything that moves. I've always loved being a defensive player."

At 6-2 and 240 pounds, Howard is already a great physical match for the inside 'backer spot. In addition to his eye-popping tackle total, he also had three sacks, ten tackles for loss and three interceptions as a junior, one of which he returned for a score. He was also very productive on offense, scoring a total of 15 touchdowns as a fullback and tight end. However, it's clear that his future lies on the defensive side of the ball, where he hopes to fit in quickly with West Virginia's new system.

NOTES

Howard said that he only plans to visit West Virginia again this fall. His immediate outlook is to get the state title that eluded him last year.

"We made the fegional finals last year, and we want to take those next steps and win state this year. We look really good so far. I think we are hungry and determined for the season."

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Howard plans to major in business and coaching, with an eye toward staying involved in football for a career. He said he is on track to qualify academically.


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