Jaxon Howard (pictured left) is enjoying the recruiting process and taking it all in as a promising young talent with college offers from top programs spanning coast to coast.
Although he has only played one season of high school football, the rising sophomore tight end from Robbinsdale (Minn.) Cooper High School already reports more than 30 offers from schools such as Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Michigan, Penn State, Oregon and Washington, to name some.
While college coaches can’t initiate contact with Howard due to NCAA rules, he is allowed to reach out to them and thus has been making a lot of phone calls early in the process in order to start building relationships with various coaching staffs, especially with no on-campus recruiting visits permitted right now during the ongoing NCAA dead period.
“I think for me personally, it’s been a great ride so far,” Howard said to The Clemson Insider in regard to his recruitment. “It’s been cool to be able to get to know so many different coaches all around the U.S. I think the cool thing about it, the more I go deeper into this process, the more I’m able to actually get to know these coaches and actually see who they are. Because at the end of the day I might be going into my sophomore year, but the next two years I’m going to be making a decision, or start making the path for the next couple years of my career.”
Howard (6-4, 225) is the son of former Stanford standout Willie Howard, who played for the Cardinal from 1996-2000 and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 1999, the same year he was awarded the Morris Trophy as the top defensive lineman in the conference.
Jaxon knows it is a luxury to have a father like his who played big-time college football and can help him through the recruiting process while also helping him improve as a player on the field.
“I think it’s an amazing thing,” he said. “It’s great to have someone like my dad with great knowledge of the game to teach me the little things.”
Jaxon is garnering early interest from Clemson and firmly on the program’s recruiting radar for the class of 2023. The Tigers don’t offer prospects as young as he is, unlike a lot of other schools, but he hopes to one day receive the opportunity to play for one of the nation’s premier programs.
“You always think of the big-time schools that have been very winning programs and you’ll see Clemson up there all the time,” he said. “Eventually, if I ever did get offered by them, I’d be extremely excited. It’s a great honor, of course, just like every other school that has showed me interest. Me and my older brother, we were watching them play football when we were younger, so it’s something cool. But it’s not really all about the offer. Hopefully it happens, but I’m just kind of going with the flow so far.”
Jaxon has a lot of respect for the way the Tigers go about the recruiting process and understands their desire to take it slowly and really get to know a prospect before potentially pulling the trigger on an offer.
“They want to feel the relationship, and I am completely for that,” he said. “I respect building relationships in this process. I get why. So, I’m definitely not a guy who would be like, ‘Hey, you know what, why haven’t I gotten an offer?’ Because it really is all about creating this relationship.
“My dad, he’s been telling me for years, committing to a school is like marrying a woman. You’ll be with that person, that position coach, for he next four years of your life if you choose to go through all four.”
Clemson is high on the list of schools that Jaxon is looking to visit at some point down the road after the NCAA ban on recruiting travel is lifted.
“Clemson is definitely somewhere I’d like to get down to in South Carolina,” he said. “That’s definitely been somewhere I wanted to get down to, even early on in my recruiting process. That’s definitely somewhere I want to get down to and meet the coaches in person.”
Jaxon is keeping everything open at this early juncture of his process as he begins to evaluate his lengthy list of college options.
“Some other guys my age already found where they want to be at so far,” he said. “In my situation, I’m kind of just picking the little details I like about schools. I don’t really have any top schools yet, but in this process I’m really finding what fits me as a person, as an athlete and as a student for what I want in my future.”
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