Howard schedules first visit

It's a rarity that players have the athleticism and skills necessary to play college football without ever playing a down in high school. Long Beach CB Ryan Howard (5-9, 180) is just such a player and he's set up a visit to a BCS school for early next month.

"I never played high school football," Howard admitted to recently. "I mainly played basketball, but I always loved football and wanted to try it.

"I'm only 5-9 and there aren't a lot of 5-9 point guards, but there's lots of 5-9 cornerbacks. Our high school football team wasn't very good so I mainly focused on basketball, but when I graduated and decided to play football, I came to Long Beach because I already knew the defensive coordinator here. He was sort of a family friend."

After finishing his basketball career at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California Howard redshirted his first year at Long Beach and then followed that up with a solid performance as a freshman the following season nabbing three interceptions while splitting time with two other corners.

"We had a really good corner in Brian Williams who signed with Washington State (in 2006) so we split time," Howard said. "It helped me learn and we got a lot of reps so that was good."

Howard followed that excellent first season with an outstanding 2006 season, posting 40 tackles and four interceptions which tied for the lead in the Mission conference. He also posted an 18 yard average on 12 returns and had six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown on offense.

"I've got good speed and quickness," Howard said. "Those are probably my best assets. I can also break on the ball quickly and make plays on the ball in the air. No one can run past me."

Howard hasn't received any offers to this point, but he's scheduled a trip to Syracuse for early January and he's also hearing from Texas Southern and Texas State.

"Syracuse basically said they want to see more of me and they wanted me to take a visit with them," Howard said. "They haven't offered, but they might be close. We'll see what happens."

Howard finished up his two-year degree in December so he's free to leave whenever and would be available to be on campus should he get the offer he's looking for. He'll have two years to play two wherever he ends up.

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