Clemson received an LOI from recently committed guard Trenton Howard today. Howard comes was recruited from Birmingham, Alabama (Briarwood Christian). The 3-star OG measures at 6’4’’ 283lb and is rated as the #73 OG in the 2020 class and #1154 player overall per the 247Sports Composite®.
Howard was a late and surprising add to the 2020 recruiting class that most believed was finished accepting commitments from offensive linemen. Howard was originally committed to Georgia Tech but quickly decommitted from the Yellow Jackets once Clemson began to show interest. He ultimately became the sixth offensive line commitment of the 2020 class a day later.
Howard’s father played football with Dabo Swinney and remains a close friend of his to this day. This could be considered a Dabo 5-heart offer but I believe that does a disservice to the quality of player Howard is. He is considered one of the top offensive linemen in the state of Alabama, was recently noted as a top performer in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, and had legitimate offers from a number of Power 5 colleges such as Boston College, Louisville, and Miami. Howard was athletic enough in high school to play tackle and will be converted to a guard in college. He is not undersized but will need to add a significant amount of strength and weight prior to being a 2-deep player. It should also be noted that he was awarded the Academic Achievement Award for his Alabama team in his recent All-Star game.
Howard is undoubtedly a great culture fit for the program with the potential to contribute in his upperclassmen years. He’s not the blue chip stud we have become accustomed to with the 2020 recruiting class. However, this is one of those cases where the fan base need to trust Dabo’s undeniable team-building skills.
Take a look at Williams’ Hudl film below and share your thoughts in the comments
Three star prospect from the state of Alabama with playing ties to Coach Swinney—what is not to like? Last minute offer after telling countless other prospects we were full, including pumping the brakes on prospects in the 2021 class who are clearly superior prospects, thus ballooning the numbers at the position (and not using them on other positions such as LB).
My gripe is not with Howard who shouldn’t have to deal with this as a player, but that is the baggage that comes with selective enforcement of recruiting rules and continual justifications for walk-ons (but, hey, if we win all is forgiven...).
I’ve said all this, but I am not going to really complain about an extra take at OL. I like this take much better than Boateng and Trotter last year, for example. With attrition coming at OL, Howard is one of the better Swinney offers to be handed out. He wanted to be at Clemson and by all accounts is a solid prospect. He picked GT over offers from BC, Miami, Louisville, Maryland, and Wake from the P5 (although there were no SEC offers or in-state offers from Bama or Auburn). Some names on that list are good evaluators of offensive line talent.
Howard is going to play on the interior and likely as a center since he is a bit sawed off. Doesn’t have ideal arm length and he needs to put on another 20 pounds of mass. He gets caught over committing and bending at the waist against better competition. Good players can bull rush him at this point so he will need to work on his ability to anchor. He does show toughness and plays through the whistle.