Orlando Edgewater wide receiver Alton Howard, probably the best play-making pass catcher in Central Florida among his Class of 2012 peers, will announce his college choice at the Edgewater High auditorium today at 12:30.
The man they call 'Pig,' has narrowed his choices to either hometown UCF or traditional SEC power Tennessee and the decision has been a difficult task for Howard, who is the No. 3-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60.
He has family ties to UCF. His half brother Quincy McDuffie is a junior wide receiver for the Knights and regardless of his on-field talent, he has already been a member of the UCF family since McDuffie was being recruited by Coach George O'Leary.
Howard (5-foot-9, 175 pounds), however, was brought closer to that UCF family by his relationship with former wide receivers coach and top recruiter David Kelly, who resigned last month amid the chaos caused by findings of recruiting wrongdoings turned up in an NCAA investigation. The report also led to the resignation of former athletic director Keith Tribble.
That wasn't exactly how UCF envisioned capitalizing on the great success of the 2010 season. That could, however, work to the Knights advantage if Howard sees that as an opportunity to join in and contribute right away.
The competition is fierce. It's Tennessee, in the SEC. The bright lights and 110,000 screaming fans at Neyland Stadium on home-game Saturdays. It's playing against the best competition -- usually -- week in and week out. It's national TV. It's a chance for Howard to show the nation what this Pig guy is all about.
But those aren't the only factors. Howard will have his own little nuiances of what he expects from his college experience, and wherever he thinks he can find those experiences is where he will end up.
Both head coaches -- George O'Leary of UCF and Derek Dooley of Tennessee -- made their respective pitches last week with in-home visits with the Howard family. Now it's up to Pig.
He'll pick his college today, but remember ... no one can put ink to paper until Feb. 1, National Signing Day.
It's ain't over until Pig pens paper. See Dee Hart, 2010.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.