Alabama RB Howard to visit UK

Kentucky might get the final shot to convince three-star Lincoln (Ala.) High School running back D.J. Howard that Lexington should be his future college home.

Howard (5-11, 195, 4.5) is one of several prospects the UK staff has targeted for more than a year to fill the role of "power back" in the Wildcat offense. He originally committed to Auburn, but has since re-opened his recruitment in order to ensure he makes the right choice on national signing day. To that end, he plans to visit Lexington on the weekend of Jan. 22.

"It will be my last visit," Howard said, "so Kentucky will have the last shot to change my mind."

And what are the odds of that?

"I'm still open to them and Clemson," he said. "(Auburn) coach (Gene) Chizik came by the school, and we had a good talk. We had a heart to heart about things I was hearing, that I would be moved to defense, and he promised me that I would get a shot to play running back. He said that stuff wasn't coming from him or his staff, that it was just scouts talking who didn't know what he wanted to do.

"But I told him that I still wanted to take some visits. I could tell that he wasn't happy with that. I could see it in his eyes, but I told him that I owed it to myself to check all of these schools out, to protect myself."

Howard had planned to visit Clemson this weekend, but says he will unlikely make that trip now due to inclement weather that is pounding the southeast with snow and bitter cold temperatures.

"I'll probably just base them on past experience," he said. "I got to make an unofficial visit there for the Virginia game, and I liked it a lot. Their stadium and crowd was really alive, probably one of the loudest I've ever been to. I loved the atmosphere there. Plus, Clemson always seems to have some good running backs."

Asked what Kentucky has done to stay in the race, Howard said: "I like the coaches there, I have a friend (former Lincoln teammate Jonathan George) on their team, and I really like their offense and the way they use their running backs. It's real similar to what I'm used to at our school."

Howard said he hasn't had a chance to meet new UK head coach Joker Phillips yet, but looks forward to spending some time with him during his visit. "I hear he's a cool guy," he added.

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