« Another early enrollee for the Canes: DE Dwayne Hoilett | Main | Sizing up UM's 2012 recruiting class with Rivals analyst Chris Nee (Part 1) »

Miramar All-American CB Tracy Howard giving hometown Canes 'a shot' this weekend

When it came to recruiting All-American cornerback Tracy Howard nobody was quicker on the draw than the hometown Hurricanes.

Miramar WR Malcolm Lewis (#1) and CB Tracy Howard (#3)"UM was the first team to offer me," Howard recalled Wednesday. "I think it was the summer after my sophomore year. I can't even remember who it was that offered me. I know he's not there anymore."

The Hurricanes -- once first in the chase for the senior widely considered the No. 1 cover corner in the country -- are now hoping they can pull off a last-second come-from-behind victory for Howard's services. UM coach Al Golden secured an official visit from Howard for this coming weekend, the final recruiting weekend before National Signing Day next Wednesday.

While getting arguably the best player in UM's backyard to take a visit probably shouldn't be newsworthy, it is in this case. Until two weeks ago, Howard said he wasn't considering the Canes at all. LSU, Alabama, Florida and Florida State were the front runners. UM? They were that team coming off a 6-6 season and about to get hit by NCAA sanctions. Who in their right mind wanted to go there? Well, Howard's closest friends for one -- Miami Norland running back Duke Johnson, Miami Columbus safety Deon Bush and Miramar receiver Malcolm Lewis.

Suddenly, with a little added push from them and Hurricanes coaches, who visited Miramar on Tuesday, Howard said he now has something to think about.

"I see the guys they're getting, hometown guys, guys that can make an immediate impact. We could have freshman fever, if I happen to go there," Howard said. "I'm familiar with a lot of those guys, Duke Johnson, Malcolm [Lewis], Deon [Bush], Vernon [Davis]. Why not give my hometown a shot?"

Before the green and orange blood in your veins leads to hyperventilation and hyper-hope, realize first that Howard (5-11, 175, 4.4) has spent a long time building a relationship with his other finalists: Florida and Florida State.

While the Hurricanes clearly could put the nation's No. 1 high school cornerback right to work, right away (beyond senior Brandon McGee and sophomore Thomas Finnie there wouldn't be much competition), the Gators are just as needy when it comes to cornerback. And Howard knows it.

"I love Florida. I love the coaching staff. I love the opportunity to play early there. I love the players. Even the recruits, we get along very well," Howard said lovingly Wednesday. "Me and [Gators recruit] Brian Poole, we became close on my visit and things like that. The town of Gainesville is a nice fit. I'm a laid back guy. I wouldn't mind a small town like Gainesville, me being a chill guy."

Florida State, once considered the front runner for Howard, appears to have played itself out of the mix -- although Howard won't say it and says he'll choose between UM, UF and FSU next Wednesday. You can read between the lines of his comments in the video below (I did). Seems clear to me Tallahassee didn't make a great impression on him, no matter how much he likes the Noles staff and players.

Ultimately, after talking to him for close to 30 minutes Wednesday, I believe it comes down to the Canes and Gators for Howard. He'll make his announcement on ESPNU next Wednesday morning, roughly around 9 a.m. Florida is clearly the leader -- and the Gators earned it. It appears they've worked hardest to get Howard to like them, visiting Miramar High far more than any other team according to Howard.

"UM recruited me, but they weren't recruiting me as hard as Florida or Florida State," Howard said in a conversation not recorded on the video below.

"I'm not talking about calling all the time. I hate that. I don't answer the phone. Florida was always coming to the school, [defensive backs] coach [Travaris] Robinson. I was always seeing him. We built a bond, just got to know him a lot. I wasn't doing that with [UM defensive backs] coach Williams. I feel more comfortable with Coach T-Rob than I do with Coach Williams. If I had to go somewhere and made that choice two weeks ago, I would have gone to Florida because I feel more comfortable with that coaching staff. I know UM players just because some of them went to Miami, but I had better relationships with the coaches and things like that. I don't go to places where me and the coaches aren't real tight or I don't really know them."

But the Canes have earned their shot -- this final recruiting weekend. Howard said his relationship with Williams is "getting better and better by the day."

"We sat down and talked football yesterday. I like what he's coaching," Howard said.

He also likes what his Canes friends are willing to do for him. Duke Johnson, considered the Canes' top recruit, messaged Howard on Facebook Tuesday and offered up the No. 3 jersey Golden was saving for him (Howard wore No. 3 in high school too). Howard said he was blown away by the gesture. "I respect that, a guy to sacrifice a number he's had since he was 6 years old. For a player to do that is special, that's big for me. I liked that," Howard said.

Now, it's up to the Canes and Golden to blow Howard away Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Howard said he's visiting UM to see if the bond between players and coaches is strong, "see if they're really family."

Miramar coach Damon Cogdell -- accused by some of funneling too many of his players to his alma mater West Virginia -- will visit UM Saturday, too. "I just want to be there for Tracy," Cogdell said. "Coach Golden is a good man. I really like him and what he's doing."

After his visit, Howard said he plans to reach a decision by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

"I didn't really think it was going to be this hard," Howard said. "Honestly, I'm not going to put any pressure on myself. I'll never let the pressure get to me in life, especially the football field. When I line up against the best receivers I'm not going to be panicking, 'God, I've got to live up to the hype, let me lock this guy down.' Just go out there and play loose. It's just like the recruiting process, be loose with it. I don't feel like I'm going to let nobody down. The only people I can let down are my parents, my little brother, my uncle and my head coach. Those are the five main people I look to for advice.

"My little brother, we've shared a room for 17 years. He knows me the most of anybody in the world. He knows what's best for me, just like I know what's best for him. Even my dad. He's a UM fan. He wants me to go to UM. But he respects my decision and he will if I decide to leave. My mom, she's always going to be there for me. Coach Cogdell will never steer me wrong.

"Fans, people don't understand how much work goes into this. Me and Malcolm [Lewis] were out at the park at 11 o'clock at night, battling, doing one-on-ones when the lights of the park went off every night. We lifted weights, ran bleachers when we didn't feel like it. We did sprints with my sprint coach, film studies for three hours every night, plus homework. Then, we woke up and did it all over again. The recruiting process is the easy part. You're just making a choice.

"They say if I don't go to Miami, Miami fans are going to be acting crazy and all that. Or if I don't go to Florida, those guys are going to be mad. I honestly don't care. They really don't know me. They weren't with me when I was there doing all the things I needed to do to get to where am. This is a selfish decision. You have to do what's best for you at the end of the day."

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

he'll be impressed by the family atmosphere this weekend and become a Cane...mark it down!!!!

We got a shot! If Golden gets this kid he's a rainmaker. How about Duke giving up his number and Malcolm doing his things. These are kids that care about the U and the kind of kids that are the U.

Tracy, U do whats best for U but remember the U is family and your other family is down the street. Mom and Pops are close by.

Go Canes

Ok I have a new found respect for the guy Tracy man i would love to see u duke Malcolm deon do what Yall do u wouldn't be mad if u went to the gators but man thinking about Yall at the U is great man good luck in your decision and enjoy the weekend come Wednesday its all on U......

Manny,

Any idea who will be the OC after Fisch lies to a bunch of recruits then bolts to Chicago?

Tracy - trust me, if you don't go to the U you are a coward afraid of competition. You will be letting all of us Cane fans down but we will move on and crush the gaytors in 2013.

Canefan '72 = Blog Pig Gatr Trash.

Or is that redundant?

The []_[] is not about one player, if he comes that's great, welcome to the family. If he doesn't then I wish the young man well. All I know is that no one gets players to the NFL like the []_[] !

It's true...We want guys who want to compete not asking for numbers or prima donnas. Hard nosed football players who bleed orange and green. F off I am not a troll. My record of questioning the dc game plans speaks for itself.

I think the USC situation has helped UM. Recruits might be looking at how well USC is playing now and see that they can make the same thing happen at UM even with sanctions.

I know USC is about to get into its lean years now, but they're still going to be pretty good. Plus, there's the possibility 'Canes don't get hit as hard as USC.

I fear that they're going to make an example of the U. We are screwed

Tracy, as both a U and UF alumn (college of law), I spent three years in Gainesville with my wife attending law school while she finished up her undergraduate and post undgraduate work at UF. We are from Miami (South Dade and Southridge, respectively) and attending the U was more special than anything I could have imagined. There was nothing like attending classes with fewer than 20 students, having access to professors, being on a picture perfect campus, and being close to home. The private education that the U offers will pay off big down the road after football; we are a family at the U and we need you to stay home and be apart of the program. If nothing more, think about the private college, top quality degree, and close family ties you will have for a lifetime after leaving the U. Gainesville has its good points too, but when it comes down to it, the U with its low number of students, you can always find a quiet place to gather your thoughts, chill, and not worry about being surrounded by 55,000 other students getting in your way.

Keeping my fingers crossed but it is a long shot.

Very mature young man with a big heart. I hope he chooses the Canes. He has family here and UM has always been known as family, including players and fans. Nevertheless, I respect whatever decision he makes.

I can tell you one thing you play for the Canes and you win, you will be a hero in Miami forever . You go to Florida and you win, when you come back nobody will remember who you are. Example Lamont Green southridge did good at FSU but nobody down here remembers him. Michael Barrow he is still remebered, and he is just one of the many.

Good luck T3 ...........U already know

HEY TRACEY YOU WILL LEAVE YOUR MARK AS A HOMETOWN HERO.. I CAN'T NAME ANY GATOR DB'S WHO ARE IN THE NFL, I CAN'T REMEMBER ALL THE CANES WHO ARE!!!

TRACY HOWARD WILL BEAT OUT BRANDON MCGAEE FOR THE STARTING SPOT CORNER REMEMBER I TOLD YOU THAT..

This incoming class is already ranked 7th in the land. Adding Tracey Howard would likely bump the U class into the top 3 in the country. I think Tracey could get pretty excited about the other classy freshman who are going to be wearing orange and green. Especially Duke Johnson. They don't come any classier than Duke. A kid that only cares about winning, and has backed it up for 3 high school seasons. A 17 year old kid being mature enough to recruit a local star by offering his jersey #(a big deal even for Pro athletes)is so very impressive. It appears that act has impressed young Mr. Howard, and rightfully so. Coach Golden is recruiting winners!

If Tracey is reading these posts, I'm hoping that he gets a sense that he is truly wanted at the U. And the talent on defense will be pretty special if he lines up at corner. The starting spot for a talent like him will be there from the first snap of his freshman season. We all know that. But there is also more young talent on the squad that is impressive. We know Sophomores Chickillo and Perryman are already stars. Junior Kelvin Cain has the potential to be a breakout star this year. But the Canes have also already signed defensive studs like his friend Deon Bush, Jelanie Hamilton, Rafael Kirby, Tyriq McCord and Reggie Northrup who are all 4 star recruits on the defensive side of the ball. This defense could be special in 2 years.

Finally, if Tracey is indeed a chill kinda kid, the U campus is the place to be. As an alum, I can tell you it's a quiet, cozy place with decent class sizes (and the young ladies are always pretty cute too!). Not the monstrosity of a public school that is UF. And let's face it, UM is a better academic school, all the way around. It's ranked 3oth in the NATION. UF lags far behind.

So Tracey, if you're reading, this was my pitch to you on why "The U" is the place to be. Hopefully you'll get that "family feel" you are looking for when you meet Coach Golden this weekend. We'd love to have you, but either way... best of luck to you young man.

72 shame on you! How do you call a kid like Tracey that name? Shame on you! This kid is so mature and intelligent that is doing whats best for him and his family and not for Mr loser 72! Tracey the real Cane Nation apologizes about this clowns comments. A true fan will ask that U consider us but at the end what you mom,pops and the rest of your loved ones decide thats whats best for you. I just pray at the end of the day putting on for your city and playing in your back yard with the rest of the elite ballers in SFLA keeps you here. If not and you decide it wasn't right for you, real Canes fans will be happy for you regardless!

PS For the Canes fans that think every kid that goes to Florida will be arrested stop. It's an attack on the kids character and not the schools, plus if you seen the video this kids parents have done an incredible job with him and I KNOW THAT WILL BE THE LAST THING THEY WORRY ABOUT.

Ms. Howard, Please remember that the ignorant comments that are posted on this blog are not coming from Cane fans. They are coming from UF fans trying to enrage your family so that Tracy will pick them. Believe me, the University of Miami and all Canes fans are honored and proud that Tracy will give us an official visit. I am a Cane season ticket holder for many years and have never been more excited about one young man than the possibility of your son coming to play for THE U. He is already a man with great integrity, just like Al Golden. I hope he sees the future he has here at Miami and chooses us. He will be our player, our brother and our family for the rest of his life. Good luck in your decision Tracy and PLEASE pick the hometown boys for your college experience. Academics second to none. GO CANES!!!

Ok, so it requires some major ass kissing for you to accept a free education, we get it.

Tracy... I was born and raised in Miami 28 years, but moved to gainesville in 1999.
Believe me when I tell ya, I work downtown and pass all the frat houses every single day.

Its like you must drive a 4x4 truck and drink Natural light in the can to fit in around there.
The downtown Clubs are a small handfull of dirty, joke of establishments.
The lifestyle available to you in Miami is a no brainer choice.
Dont get me wrong, once you pass 30 years old and are done with that stuff, Gainesville is a good place to live. But for now take advantage of Lifes oppurtunities in Miami, people come to Gainesville to slow down.
UM already has 2 guys from your school, and I honestly believe Williams with be leading us at QB this year.

I like our chances. Hey Howard! Got a scholarship with your name on it. You'll be a star at UM. Just relax. You can get to the NFL just as fast from UM as you can from any school in the country.

Tracy Howard is a class act. He will make the right decision in the end and I expect that decision to be UM, why? Because UM is a special place! Legends are born there. The record speaks for itself... Irving, Sapp, Lewis, Read, Tayor, Howard? Hopefully Tracy envision adding his name to that list; its a special list to be apart of, id say!

TRACY HOWARD is a cane.just saw the video with him and MALCOLM LEWIS..you could tell he wants to play college ball with his friends....and he will...

What a classy guy...I can see him as a 'Cane.

In the interview he answered every question directly, and you can tell the respect that he has for the schools, Coaches, his family and the intensity of his training to be the BEST Football player he can be..

Coach G this guy is real... I know that we are going after a gem here and someone who can contribute right away...
The key is that he is a very sharp guy with good football savvy and WILLING to work hard to bring the 'Canes back with a new group of young freshmen 'Canes..

Tracy, If you decide on the 'Canes, welcome to you and your family as part of our 'Canes family..If not wherever you choose they will be getting a very Classy young man.

PS. Choose the 'Canes and hang out with your buddies as our legacy continues...we would love to have ya.
Go 'Canes

Just to put to bed a viscious rumor:

After being promoted to offensive coordinator in Chicago, Mike Tice says he’s in constant contact with quarterback Jay Cutler, whom Tice sees as a perfect fit for what he wants to do offensively.

I think we're gonna pull this kid on signing day!!!

Duke Johnson... Man what a gesture. Offering up his # since he was a lil kid like that. Pure class and unselfish.

GO CANES ALL DAY EVERDAY!!

Tracy, you want family? How about ray Lewis, ed reed, Michael Irvine, Andre Johnson, edgerrin James, Jeremy shockey, warren sapp, Vincent wilfork, etc. At your practice sessions cheering you on and telling you what it means to be a cane. Family forever!

Man, I have spoken to many Gator fans today and every single one of them say, "We have Tracy Howard in the bag. He is signed, sealed and delivered a Gator." This is terrible news and I was hopeful for a while that we had a chance, but now I am not. The people I spoke with seem to be 110% sure of this. Don't get your hopes up. I don't want to hurt too bad on NSD.

I will believe that on NSD.
If Tracy comes to the U great. If he goes to UF oh well. I wish him luck,and we beat him in 2013. To bad UF won't play us every year.

Duke is the man! Tracy will come to UM.

Tracy, Bonifide leader and your services are desprately needed. You can truly start something special because you are a leader and not a follower. Congratulations and welcome to the "U".

Tracy,
Would would love to have you and your family become a part of the UM family! Good things are ahead under Coach Golden, and you can be a big part of that! You can't beat the athletics and academics at the U! Have a great visit!

Tracy, Mr. and Mrs. Howard and the Howard family and friends, what Big Daddy Cane posted is true. The negative post that you see are from University of Florida fans who post using 'Canes in their names. They spew their negativity to try to sway tracy up to Gainesville. All true UM fans are ecstatic that at this late stage of the recruiting process that Tray will come and visit the campus and spend time with the othe recruits and the coaching staff. We hope that tracy picks Miami (great academics, small class sizes, a program that produces the most NFL talent and close to home so he can get some of Mom's home cooking) but we know that it will be a well thought out process and Tracy and you all will do what is best for him on the field and of course (and most importantly, in the classroom). Again, we would love to have him here and root for him for the next 3-5 years, but we all wish him the best know matter where he goes.

Yo, Cane Trash, the ACC suuuuuucks.

It's now been 10 years since Cane maggot won anything. Tired yet? Next year's track team will feature no track athletes so whachagonnado?

Send out Morris and the freshmen as the two-headed monster? HORRIBLE

Run behind that sieve of an O-Line? HORRIBLE

Throw to the non-existent receivers? HORRIBLE


Yep, things sure look bright in caneville. And once the NCAA finishes gutting the program, you will look back fondly on the Shannon years.

But hey, Goldencrap is a fine choice. BWWAHAHAHAAHHAHA.

Remember this it doesn't matter what number "U" get. "U" make the number.

I don't think what BigDaddyCane said is true. I do not think Tracy is sold on UF. I hope after his visit this weekend he choices the U. If he does not come to the U. I wish him the best of luck.
I believe JJ said it best: Win with us, or lose against us. 2013 is just around the corner.

Think about your decision February 1, 2012 National Signing Day. If "U" are worried about playing right away or even starting, go to UF,FSU, or any other schools that promise you that you will play right away. Dont let a little bit of competition shy you away. In my book Competitors = Champions. The "U" has lot of that.

I've seen you play in that preseason game against the Norland Vikings last year. A competitor that you are wants to win. Competitors = Champions. "U" Make that Decision on what fits your playing style.

Canetrash,
Your name says it all, because it fits your self worth. Wallow in it. Grow up soon.

Hey CaneTrash Tracy Howard is Hurricane now. Now you grow up and get with the program.

Speaking of butts, check out this funny parody. http://youtu.be/4KE4K6VQnvo

The comments to this entry are closed.