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Vikings corner headed to UC Davis

Howard is the fourth Valencia player from the class of 2010 to commit in Div. I

Posted: January 31, 2010 8:32 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Valencia’s Jabari Howard is the fourth Viking football player from the class of 2010 to commit to a Division I program.

Howard will play football at the University of California, Davis, a decision he announced this past Friday.

He joins teammates Brock Vereen (Minnesota), Nolan O’Sullivan (Navy) and Kevin Carrington (Air Force) as Valencia players signing with Division I schools.

The 6-foot tall, 160-pound senior cornerback said he liked the UC Davis campus and the incoming players he met.

“I think it was just going up there for my visit, most of the recruits on my visit had already committed,” he said. “Most of those guys I could see myself with. I just felt really comfortable there.”

Howard recorded 37 tackles and seven interceptions this past season, along with one fumble recovery. Valencia finished 12-1 and won the Foothill League before bowing out in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals.

He was a first-team selection on both the All-Foothill League team and The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley team.

UC Davis competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Div. I-AA.

The Aggies are coming off a 6-5 season in which they won the Great West Conference. Their highest-profile game was a 34-16 loss to then-No. 5 Boise State on the road, but UC Davis played the Broncos tough.

Howard said he got to know UC Davis assistant coach Nevan Bergan very well over the past couple of months, and Bergan is also the cornerbacks coach.

UC Davis plays different types of press coverages, which typically involve what Howard describes as a “field” corner and a “boundary” corner.

Howard said that he’ll likely redshirt his first year but then compete for the job of field corner, which requires more coverage skills.

Howard said that the commitment marks the end of a stressful but fulfilling process.

“It’s a feeling that all my work I put in was worth something and it’s come to fruition,” he said.

Howard, who has a 3.8 grade point average, was also considering Columbia, Cornell, Cal Poly and the University of San Diego.

He said his final decision came down to UC Davis and Columbia.

“Most of the people I talked to, it seemed like an obvious decision because you don’t turn down the Ivy League,” Howard said. “My parents told me to make the decision that makes me happy. ... I was the one that earned these opportunities, and that’s why at the end of the day I had to make the final decision, and not be too influenced by others but still consider what they had to say.”

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