honed his skills as a defensive back at Miramar (Fla.)
. The highly touted cornerback now will be playing his college ball only a few blocks away at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Hurricanes. Howard, one of the nation's top-rated cornerbacks and ranked No. 102 overall by MaxPreps, signed with Miami
after a hard push by the Hurricanes in the final days leading up to National Signing Day. He had narrowed his choices to UM, Florida and Florida State, but there were some factors other than staying close to home that influenced Howard's decision.
By signing with Miami, Howard will be joining his best friend and Miramar teammate Malcolm Lewis
in Coral Gables. Howard also is friends with two other UM highly touted signees in Randy "Duke" Johnson
from Norland (Miami) and Deon Bush
from Christopher Columbus (Miami). Plus, Howard's mother is a UM alum who will almost be able to walk to her son's home games.
Miami was not one of Howard's finalists two weeks ago, but Hurricanes head coach Al Golden made a late push to convert the 5-foot-11, 175-pound U.S. Air Force All-American. Howard had 10 interceptions his senior season at Miramar, which was the 2011 Class 8A state runner-up and won a state title in Howard's sophomore year, his first as a starter for the Patriots. He was the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Broward County Defensive Player of the Year last season.
The Hurricanes entered the picture after Howard cancelled a visit to LSU and instead took his final official visit to UM last weekend.
Dante Fowler switches to Gators
So far in the early hours of National Signing Day, the most notable flip of top-rated prospects in the Sunshine State involved Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
defensive end Dante Fowler
switching his commitment and signing with Florida. Fowler had made a verbal commitment to Florida State, but changed his mind and is headed to Gainesville,
where he said he believes he'll have a better chance to play sooner.
The 6-3, 235-pound Fowler is a MaxPreps five-star prospect and ranked No. 44 overall nationally.MaxPreps 2012 National Signing Day page