- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Although ESPN 150 tight end O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autauga Academy) is committed to the University of Alabama, he took a visit to Florida during the weekend to see the Gators play South Carolina on Saturday.
“It was different from my usual visits,” Howard said. “It was a different environment going to Florida. It was overall a good visit. The fans were into it the whole time. They did the fourth-quarter song where they stand up. That was pretty cool.”
The game did not disappoint either, as Florida dominated the Gamecocks 44-11 to take control of the SEC East.
“The game was not what I expected,” Howard said. “I thought it was going to be a really close game, but Florida showed a lot of stuff and they really put it on South Carolina. That was a surprise to me.”
Howard, who enjoyed a career night on the field Friday, left for Gainesville, Fla., the next morning and stayed through Sunday. On his trip, he met with UF head coach Will Muschamp and the Gators’ tight ends coach Derek Lewis.
“They were making sure I take the best opportunity because they think next year they’re going to need a tight end because Jordan Reed is probably going to get drafted,” Howard said. “They were telling me that, talking about education, things like that.
“Coach Muschamp is a great coach. He’s more of a down-home southern guy, country guy, kind of like I am. That was cool to have something similar with him.”
When Howard arrived home Sunday, he received a call from the Alabama coaches.
“They just called to see how it went, to see if I had fun,” he said. “It was really no big deal to them. They wanted to see how it was and to see if I made it back safely.”
Howard says his commitment is still solid with the Tide, but he’s considering taking an official visit back to Florida in the future.
2dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
2dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf