CB Howard quietly picks The U

Tracy Howard, the nation's top-rated cornerback, signed a letter of intent with Miami, ending one of the more tight-lipped recruiting battles in recent memory.

Howard took official visits to Florida, FSU, USC and West Virginia, but it was the final official visit to Miami that proved to be the difference for the 6-foot, 185-pound senior.

The 18-ranked prospect in the nation didn't confirm his official to Miami until the last minute, but once he got to the Coral Gables campus he was greeted by a contingent of friends, including Miami commiitment Randy "Duke" Johnson (Miami, Fla./Norland) and his best friend and teammate Malcolm Lewis (Miramar, Fla./Miramar).

It's a huge boost for the Hurricanes, who have managed to have a top 10 class despite the cloud of NCAA sanctions hanging over the program. In the last month Miami has secured commitments from ESPN 150 prospects Deon Bush (Miami, Fla./Columbus), Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) and now Howard.

Howard also will add an immediate boost of talent to a secondary that needed depth and he is expected to compete for playing time early in his career.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.