Edgewater wide receiver Alton “Pig” Howard visited Tennessee this past weekend, and like everyone else who leaves the Knoxville campus as a visiting prospect, he loved the tour.
“Everything I heard about Tennessee … it was better,” Howard said. “Not only do they have great facilities and great coaches, they are also in a great conference (SEC) and their fans are loyal and still committed to you even if you don’t win.”
The Tennessee facilities -- as well as the 100,000-seat stadium with the big orange-and-white checkerboard end zones -- are what usually takes the breath away of most prospects who visit. Howard was no different.
“It was nice. I got to see all the facilities and it was a great feeling to see their stadium holding 100,000 people and all,” Howard said. “Me and coach (Derek) Dooley sat down and talked about things and he told me what he liked about me and what kind of things I can do for their offense.
“I also got to hang around freshman running back Marlin Lane (Daytona Beach Mainland) and some of their defensive players. They also have Tom Smith (Apopka) there and Maurice Couch, he played here (Edgewater) in like 2009.
He went to Tennessee with a top five of South Carolina, West Virginia, Cincinnati, UCF and Tennessee, but Alabama has recently stepped into the picture. He no longer has a top five, he said. He will be visiting Cincinnati this weekend.
“Tennessee is No. 1 so far on my list,” Howard said. “I will have a top three probably in another week or so. Alabama has been talking to me also and I’m going to see where they stand in about a week."
So far his only official visit of five allowed is Tennessee, and then Cincy will be this week. He is undecided as to whether he will take an official visit to UCF.
“Coach [UCF’s George] O’Leary wants me to take one,” Howard said. “They want to be my last official visit.”
When asked about the chances of him ending up at UCF, Howard paused a bit and then said, “I would say 70-65 percent … but I’m just going to keep my options open and probably the end of November I’ll go ahead and make my decision.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.