TAMPA, Fla. - During the Badger Sports 7-on-7 at the University of South Florida on Saturday, one of the top playmakers on the field was Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater wide receiver Alton Howard. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound athlete nicknamed 'Pig' was enjoying the competition with his peers as part of the 'Big Timers' squad comprised of Orlando-area athletes.
"This has been a great experience," Howard said. "There are a lot of guys out here who are well coached and very experienced. It is a great experience to come out here and play against these guys."
Howard recently added an offer from Southern Cal, which came on his birthday.
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"Ed Orgeron basically had conversated with my ex-head coach," Howard said. "They were just basically telling me that I would love the facilities out there. They said it is a great school. They said I could fit into their program. I am kind of looking into it."
Another recent offer for the electric athlete came from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
"Notre Dame has a great facility and good academics," Howard said. "I love the way they run their offense."
Also, another member of the SEC - South Carolina - recently extended an offer. In addition to liking the Gamecocks offensive attack, Howard has developed a strong relationship with one of the members of Steve Spurrier's coaching staff.
"Me and Jeep Hunter have a great connection," Howard said.
Two other recent offers came from West Virginia and Memphis. At this time, his offer list stands at more than a dozen schools.
So far he has taken one visit and is hoping to take some visits during the upcoming weeks and months to see some of the schools.
"I went to Miami a couple of weeks ago," Howard said. "I thought about going to Florida's Junior Day. So far me and Coach Lo Wood may take a couple of visits during the spring and the summer."
He talked about his time in Coral Gables checking out the University of Miami.
"It was a great experience," Howard said. "Coach Golden is a real calm, laid back guy. The coaching staff makes you feel at home. They are very nice and funny. Miami is Miami, they have a great football program, everyone knows that. Their facilities are nice. So I am interested and I will take an official visit there and see how I feel about the atmosphere."
While the Hurricanes, and other in-state programs are appealing, Howard isn't going to limit his options geographically.
"I am wide open to go anywhere," Howard said. "It is just based on the coaching connection and based on how the school plays, plays a part. So I am wide open to go anywhere so who knows what I may do."
"I am looking at a school with great academics," Howard added. "That puts the ball into their playmakers hands and has great coaching connections and chemistry, and that cares about their players. That is what I am looking at the most."
At this point, he does not claim a leader.
"Not really," Howard said. "It is kind of like a deadlock. There are a lot of schools that I am interested in so therefore my senior year I am going to take my official visits and I am going to decide from there."
Howard said that at this time his tentative commitment date is August 5th, the start of his senior year.