July 26, 2010

Plantation (FL) linebacker Jerome Howard to visit CMU

Few players had the type of production that Plantation linebacker Jerome Howard did last season. As a junior, Howard registered 115 tackles, 21 TFL, 7 sacks, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles en route to leading the Colonels to an 8-4 record. Plantation, which featured 2010 Central Michigan targets Gilbert St. Louis (Connecticut), Deven Drane (Cincinnati) and Tim Burke (Bethune-Cookman), is once again loaded with talent and looking to build upon last season where they lost in the second round of the playoffs to Miramar.

This season Howard is one of numerous stars for his squad. DB Jeremy Cash is already committed to Ohio State, DB Terrence Mitchell holds an offer from Kentucky, and fellow linebacker Ryan Shazier is committed to Florida. With so much talent around him, it makes Howard's statistical accolades that much more impressive.

"I think I'm a ball hawk," added Howard. "I'm constantly getting myself around the ball and I'm also a leader, not only on the field but off. So in a way, I kind of look at myself as a role model to the younger players and they know I'm there if they have any problems. On the field, I just get the job done and I just love to have fun. Every night I just go out there and have fun playing football, and that's what I love."

Despite being a tackling machine, the 6-foot and 203 pound Howard has only picked up two offers: Central Michigan and Marshall.

"Marshall has a great coach, one of the best coaches in the country in my opinion, and I really like them. With Central Michigan I've heard they have a great campus and facilities from my friend Ronnie Kennedy. He had a lot of good things to say about CMU and I know some of my teammates from last year visited there and like it too."

In addition to his offers from CMU and Marshall, Howard is also hearing from Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent State and Ole Miss. While he has yet to set any definitive visits, Howard has a good idea of what schools he plans to set foot on.

"I still have to set my visits, but I want to visit Central Michigan and Marshall of course. Then I like Toledo a lot even though they haven't offered and the same with Bowling Green, so those are two other schools I would like to see."

When deciding on a place to play his collegiate football, Howard has a few things he will look at.

"The first thing would probably be playing time, I want to go someplace where I can s ee the field early on," added Howard. "Second would probably be the campus lifestyle itself, and what type of academic programs they offer. I'm still deciding whether I want to major in broadcasting or sports medicine, so having those programs are important. Then I also look real hard at their football graduation rates and whether they graduate their players or not."

Howard was also quick to point out one detail that will not effect his decision.

"Location, that is not a factor for me at all," said Howard. "I've been born and raised in this area of Florida for my whole life and I'm just looking to do something different and get away a bit."

Living in Florida, most high school athletes are relaxing and enjoying their summer vacation away from the classroom. That is not the case for Howard as he's been busy in night school getting his academics in order so he can graduate early.

"I'm going to sit down with my parents here in the next week or so and start to narrow down my choices. I'm graduating early so I'm looking to decide by November at the latest, but I do plan on taking my visits before any decision is made."

CMU has a history of adding skilled linebackers who lack the prototypical size such as Ike Brown and Shamari Benton, and Howard definitely fits in that same category. The issue lies with need, and the Chippewas have already received commitments from three linebackers in Tim Hamilton, Cody Lopez and Germaine Calmes. Although both Hamilton and Calmes have been mentioned at other positions, it has yet to be seen whether CMU will take another linebacker in the 2011 class.

Stick to ChippewaCountry for the latest in CMU athletics and recruiting.

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