In need of a linebacker in the 2013 class, Ohio State lost out on another potential candidate when four-star junior Darrien Howard committed to West Virginia.
The 6-foot-1, 260-pound inside linebacker from Chaminade-Julienne in Dayton, Ohio, was set to come to Ohio State’s camp on June 10 and was expecting to be offered by the Buckeyes once there.
But by announcing his intentions on Twitter that he has “No regrets about my decision, I’m going with my heart #mountaineernation,” Howard has canceled plans to go to Columbus in a week.
“When I was going to the camp, that’s when I thought (Ohio State) would possibly offer me,” Howard said. “They said if I would have come to the camp and performed, they would have offered me, but no, I’m not going now.”
A Division IV first-team All-Ohio selection and Southwest District Defensive Player of the year, the two-time all-state choice is ranked as the best linebacker in Ohio by ESPN.
Howard’s strong suits are with the running game, which should only bolster a Mountaineers squad that gave up 144.8 yards per game a year ago.
He finished his junior season at Chaminade-Julienne with 154 tackles, three interceptions, 2½ sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Howard becomes the fifth player to commit to West Virginia and is the second linebacker to head to Morgantown, joining Hodari Christian of McKeesport High (McKeesport, Pa.), who gave his commitment to West Virginia on May 11.
For Howard, it was a matter of comfort and X’s and O’s.
Along with the laid back feel the Mountaineers provide, they have a degree in athletic coaching education and that suited Howard, who plans on teaching the game after his playing days are over.
“It just felt like home,” Howard said. “There’s a great homefield environment at the stadium. It’s a great place and they had my major.”
In choosing West Virginia, Howard turned down offers from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Western Kentucky, North Carolina State, Pitt, Toledo, Western Michigan, Bowling Green and Cincinnati.