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August 8, 2014

Howard hops on board



When it comes to the recruitment of Miami (Fla.) Norland cornerback Antonio Howard no coach was as persistent as West Virginia running backs coach JaJuan Seider and the message from the assistant was loud and clear to the Mountaineers legacy, "come home."

Well Howard gave Seider the news he was waiting for early Friday when the Rivals.com three-star simply told him it's time to say welcome home and promptly committed to the West Virginia football program. But it was a decision that had actually been made well in advance.

"They were coming at me hard every day. I talked to coach Seider every day," he said. "Coach Seider has been like a brother to me. It's like he's part of my family."

Howard, 5-foot-10, 163-pounds, is the son of former West Virginia wide receiver Antonio Brown and had grown up following the Mountaineers football program. And as you can imagine his father was thrilled when he gave him the good news.

"West Virginia was my favorite school since I was little. I didn't know anything about football until my daddy was playing," he said. "I talked to my parents and let them know that I had decided and my dad was pumped up. I'm excited, he's excited, my family is excited, the coaches are excited, and everybody is excited."

In total, Howard had collected 21 scholarship offers but ultimately his decision would come down to West Virginia, Georgia, Pittsburgh and South Florida. While other schools would seemingly come and go in his recruitment, the one constant was always the Mountaineers.

"I just had a great relationship with them," he said.

Howard plans to enroll at West Virginia in January to get a head start on his college career and is being recruited strictly to play the cornerback position.

And not unlike his father, Howard is a speedster that has been clocked well under 4.4 in the 40-yard dash multiple times this summer.

"It's just exciting for me to get up there and to try to start playing right away," he said. "They told me I have to work for it and nothing will come easy."

Earlier in the process Howard elected to back away from pledges to both Florida International and Cincinnati but he says that this time his decision is, "a done deal." And although he has yet to visit Morgantown he plans to make an official visit to check out the campus later this fall.

Howard becomes the 17th commitment for West Virginia in the class of 2015 and the eighth pledge from Florida. The cornerback prospect is close friends with fellow West Virginia wide receiver commitment Jovon Durante and the Rivals.com four-star was active in recruiting Howard.

"We are like brothers. We go everywhere together and went to a lot of camps and played on the same 7-on-7 teams. He recruited me a lot," he said.

Howard plans to study sports management once he arrives on campus.

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