National Signing Day has started off well for the West Virginia Mountaineers, who landed top-10 linebacker recruit Darrien Howard. The fax came through and now the 6-foot-2, 250-pound linebacker will officially play for the Mountaineers.
Howard’s talent level is unrivaled in the entire country this year at his position, although he does have some injury concerns. An ankle injury limited Howard to only playing eight games during his senior season at Chamindae-Julienne High School. Growing up and playing his high school ball in Akron, Oh., Howard naturally considered Big East school Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before ultimately deciding on West Virginia. Other schools in the running for this stellar linebacker recruit were Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Western Kentucky. We don’t know if it was Bobby Petrino or what, but it’s surprising to us as well that Western Kentucky is on that list of other relatively high-profile schools.
Early in 2012 and even after the high school football season ended, many thought Howard would change his mind about West Virginia and play for either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, but he stayed true to his word and has now signed to play for the Mountaineers. He’ll undoubtedly start from day one and help improve a West Virginia linebacking crew that showed a lot of promise in 2012, but needs a leader. The Mountaineers are hoping Howard will be just that.