The top-ranked cornerback in the nation, Tracy Howard dominated at Miramar High. He hauled in 10 interceptions as a senior to anchor a defense that allowed just 74 passing yards per game, and led the Patriots to the Florida Class 8A finals. He's considering Florida, LSU and USC.Read More Below
Tracy Howard has always had skills in the secondary -- he just wasn't always able to show them.
Howard played wide receiver during his freshman year at Miramar High (Fla.), but was moved to cornerback by coach Damon Cogdell before his sophomore season. The switch paid off, with Howard developing into the nation's top-ranked corner and drawing interest from many of college football's premier programs.
"His ninth-grade year we went to the semifinals and this kid was phenomenal," Cogdell said. "I told him that day that I was going to convert him from a receiver to defensive back and that one day he was going to be the number one DB in the country. And here we are, he's the number one DB in the country."
Howard certainly deserves his praise. Despite rarely being targeted, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder reeled in 10 interceptions for the 2011 Class 8A runner-up Patriots. The quick corner -- Howard runs a 4.4 40 -- was also impressive in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, shutting down wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham -- the 6-foot-5, 220-pound top recruit in the nation -- during their matchups against each other.
"This was a big game, I don't want to say it was just like any other game," Howard later told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "It was fun, I competed and [Dorial is] a great player, but I showed he wasn't anything I couldn't handle."
That's encouraging, as Howard will likely see plenty of talented wideouts when he's playing big-time college football next fall. The No. 13 overall prospect has offers from schools spanning the country, with Florida, LSU and USC leading the charge for his signature. Howard is also considering Florida State and Miami, among others.
"It's a blessing really, to [be able to] go to any school that you really want to go to in the country," said Howard, who is expected to announce his decision on National Signing Day on Feb. 1. "Outside of football, [it's important that] it feels like home, that I feel like I could live there for three, four years or even after college."
Wherever Howard ends up, one thing is clear: His move to corner has paid big dividends.
"I love playing corner," he said. "I'd rather lock somebody down than catch a pass."