Tech gains talent, leadership in running back Jerry Howard

Last month, Georgia Tech convinced two-star running back Jerry Howard to forgo his verbal commitment to East Carolina and become a Yellow Jacket.

Since Howard flipped on Nov. 21, he said there has not been a day he’s looked back on what might have been.

A senior from Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C., Howard had committed to East Carolina in June, but with constant communication with Georgia Tech and East Carolina coaches over his senior year, Howard landed instead with Tech.

Howard had also been recruited by 16 other schools including East Carolina, Air Force, Appalachian State, Army, Charleston Southern, Colorado State, Georgia Southern, Marshall, Miami, Navy and Old Dominion, according to 247 Sports.

“The reason I decommitted from East Carolina and committed to Georgia Tech was the education,” Howard said. “I knew that Georgia Tech had a great business school and you’re bound to have a job after you graduate from school. So I decided that that was the best fit for me education-wise. And I like to run the ball a lot.”

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When Howard enrolls at Tech after he graduates in May, he wants to major in business, but he remains unsure of his desired field.

Not only does Tech appear to be a fit for Howard academically, but coach Paul Johnson’s option offense, which averaged 257.4 rushing yards per game this season, fits Howard’s skill set.

Northwestern High assistant football coach Bobby Page coached Howard for four years, including a state championship season in 2015, and sees Tech’s offense as ideal for Howard.

“He is a strong, powerful and durable runner who can get the tough yards when called upon as well as he is an agile runner who can make a tackler miss him in the open field,” Page said. “He has no problem catching the ball out of the backfield, as well as he can protect the quarterback when not a part of the pass route.”

Howard said he’s spoken to Johnson and Tech coaches about whether he will play at A-back or B-back, but hasn’t landed on a definite role. Howard said coaches have told him he’s fast enough to play A-back, but big enough (6-feet, 210 pounds) to play B-back.

Howard finished his senior season with over 1,000 rushing yards, averaging over 7 yards per carry.

While excited to learn Tech’s offense, Howard said was also looking forward to playing with Marcus Marshall, who led the Jackets with 624 rushing yards as a sophomore. When Marshall announced his intent to transfer at the end of the season, Howard admitted he was disappointed.

“I really wanted to get coached up by him and Dedrick (Mills) basically because I’ve been watching them the entire season and seeing how great they’ve been doing,” Howard said. “So (Marshall’s transfer) surprised me, but I know that probably he had his reasons to do it. So it’s probably going to open up more room on the depth chart for me if I work hard.”

Off the field, Page stressed that Howard is so much more than a football talent.

“(Howard) is a young man of strong character and is mature beyond his age,” Page said. “He is a better person than he will ever be a football player. And he is a great football player.”

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