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Projecting the Future: Alton "Pig" Howard


Ratings: Rivals 4* No. 47 wide receiver No. 41 player in Florida, Scout 3* No. 76 wide receiver, ESPN 4* No. 150 overall prospect in the nation No. 22 wide receiver No. 29 player in Florida, 247 4* No. 121 overall player in the nation No. 14 wide receiver No. 19 player in Florida. Chose UT over Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, West Virginia, Ohio State, UCLA, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Miami, Michigan State, Michigan, South Carolina, Utah, Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, others.

STRENGTHS: Blazing fast athlete who is incredible with the ball in his hands. He has that quick-cut, turn-on-a-dime ability that UT sorely lacks on offense. He also is a legit 4.4 player. He also can run the football and has an explosive burst. Makes good grades and by all accounts is a great leader on the field and off. He is very well put-together for a kid his size, and is a bundle of muscles who appears pretty durable. He plays bigger than he is.

NEEDS WORK: It's going to be tough to work on his size, but he is pretty small. If he really is a wide receiver, he certainly isn't going to be a downfield threat who is a mismatch for cornerbacks but rather a player who you get the ball to and let him work in space. Howard needs to work a bit on his hands, but they aren't bad by any stretch. He just needs to get more consistent catching and route-running.

CREDENTIALS: As a junior, he amassed 1,040 receiving yards, 546 rushing yards, 130 passing yards and 19 touchdowns as he was named one of the top five players in Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel and garnered all-state accolades. He was named one of the top two RUNNING BACKS at the Under Armour All-America game, drawing praise for his lateral quickness. He looked like one of those typical UF backs like Chris Rainey. Completed 5-of-14 passes for 114 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Had 55 carries for 392 yards and three touchdowns and 36 catches for 691 yards and five receiving touchdowns.

OPTIMISTIC CEILING: The Vols haven't had a player of Howard's caliber, speed and stature in some time. Really, I'm having a difficult time comparing him to anybody UT has had of late, but he does remind me of a bit slower Rainey. He has the same kind of quick-twitch athleticism, though he isn't a complete blazer like Rainey. He is very well put-together, and players like Pig should be able to step in and help the Vols on offense because of the lack of team-speed present. He is faster than Devrin Young, but they kind of remind me of each other a bit. Howard is better in space. I fully believe he'll get touches next year, and UT may even run some Wild Pig with him.