Darrien Howard traveled from his Dayton, Ohio, home in to visit Illinois in late February. He was impressed.
"It was really nice. I enjoyed it a lot. We toured the facility and took a campus tour. We saw the whole campus. We didn't stay for the game."
He especially enjoyed building a relationship with Illini assistant coach Mike Ward.
"I like the coaches. Coach Ward the linebacker coach, he knows what he wants in a linebacker, and he wants to get it. So I like that."
The 6'-2", 240 pounder now has five college offers.
"I have Illinois, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Ohio University and Toledo."
He has maintained a hectic travel schedule, hoping to see as many schools as possible.
"I visited Michigan State the day before Illinois, and Kentucky the week before that."
Howard is being recruited as a linebacker by the Illini. He describes his game.
"I'm a downhill player. I play between the tackles, and I'm a typical middle linebacker. I come up and hit, but I can also play in coverage. I want to work more on my pass coverage. My conference has mostly run teams, so I don't get to work on my past drops that much. I try to do that as much as I can."
Howard is a two-way player. His power is utilized in short yardage.
"On offense, I play fullback and tight end. I had two catches for touchdowns, but I basically ran it most of the time. I had 13 touchdowns for the season."
Howard expects great things from his Chaminade Julienne team this fall.
"We went to the regional finals last fall. I honestly think we can go all the way this year. We have a lot of guys returning. A lot of guys are really buying into what we're trying to do. The workouts have been very intense."
What does he want in a college?
"I'm looking at the environment and how I can adjust to it. And I want a good relationship with the coaching staff."
Howard is continuing to check out schools this spring.
"I'm planning to visit Ohio State, UC and Alabama. The Alabama trip will be over spring break."
Howard is deciding between two college majors.
"I'm thinking about Sports Medicine and Business Marketing as majors."