On Friday evening, West Virginia picked up its seventeenth commitment of the 2015 class when Miami (Fla.) Norland cornerback Antonio Howard pledged to the Mountaineers.
Much like the other most recent 2015 commit, Jah’Shaun Seider, Howard has strong ties to the program. His father, Antonio Brown, played wide receiver in Morgantown from 1998 to 2001. Not surprisingly, that played a major role in his decision.
“West Virginia was my favorite school when I was little,” Howard said. “When I was growing up, my dad played at WVU, so I feel like I should keep the legacy going.”
Although only measuring in at 5-foot-9 and 157 pounds, Howard is one of the fastest players in south Florida — he was in the top 10 in the 40-yard dash at the Nike SPARQ combine in February — and maybe the nation. He has been clocked as low as 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That speed certainly had the coaches excited.
“ ‘Congrats, We’re happy you are keeping it in the family! Welcome to WVU,’ that’s what the head coach [Dana Holgorsen] told me,” said Howard.
It didn’t always seem like this would happen, however. Howard committed to Florida International originally before decommitting shortly thereafter. A few months later, he pledged to Cincinnati and said he was firm in his commitment.
A strong spring brought an offer from West Virginia, but the Mountaineers weren’t alone. The Mountaineers were joined by Miami (Fla.), Clemson, Pittsburgh and more, bringing plenty of competition into his suddenly scorching-hot recruitment.
That’s when JaJuan Seider, the top-ranked recruiter in the Big12 per 247Sports, stepped in and took care of business, much like he has with so many other south Florida commits this recruiting cycle.
“It’s [a] great [relationship],” said Howard. “He’s like a big brother. I talk to him every day.”
Howard’s commitment pushed West Virginia past Kentucky, Duke and Wisconsin into 21st in the 247Sports team rankings, just behind Oregon.
Chris Anderson is a full-time writer for eersports.com.