by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Out of Robbinsdale High School in Minnesota, Jaxon Howard just made plans to travel much farther South than previously expected, making it official with his Friday night commitment to LSU.
Howard's verbal pledge arrives at the perfect time for LSU's 2023 class: fighting off criticism & question marks all week concerning their ability to reel in top talents, DL Coach Jamar Cain just put his foot down....and from what LSU Odyssey is hearing, he's far from finished this weekend.
Above all, LSU's 2023 recruiting imperatives were always WR and DB, but Coach Kelly's staff still understood how much talent the Tigers stand to lose along their Defensive Line after 2022 (Gaye, Ojulari, J-Roy, possibly Guillory).
Which is why Friday night's commitment from Jaxon Howard is exactly what is needed for LSU: loading up on elite DL talents (such as Howard) in order to bridge the gap from Ojulari, Gaye & Roy to next year's veterans (Wingo, Maason, Jones, Carter & Guillory).
Ranking as the 11th overall edge rusher in America, placed as the 96th overall national talent from any position (according to the 247 Composite), Howard possesses an array of moves on the line of scrimmage;
As versatile as he is quick to react, as long as he is thick, while maintaining a nonstop, gap-shooting, edge-threatening motor, Robbinsdale's DE titan is a match made in Jamar Cain's Heaven.
At 6'4 and 245, Howard exhibits the right size & length to play Cain & House's favored Jack LB/DE role, while holding enough girth and strength to make guards or centers pay when stunting inside; Capable of rushing the passer with a hand in the dirt or standing up, equally.
The son of Willie Howard, an NFL 2nd Round pick in 2001 (to the Minnesota Vikings, where young Jaxon was born) and a college standout at Stanford, Cain has been recruiting Willie's son for years now, dating back to his final Arizona State days;
In early 2020, when Cain joined Alex Grinch's defensive staff at Oklahoma, the current LSU DL Coach offered Howard in April of that year.....and he's remained a top priority ever since.
Collecting 50 stops, 8 TFL and 6 sacks last season for Robbinsdale, the Minnesota-born former Tight End holds major athleticism & titanic upside at the next level, and LSU knew they had to get him.
With help from Defensive Coordinator Matt House ("he was teaching me, it was like an actual classroom...."), DL Assistant Pat Hill and LSU's Recruiting Wunderkind Sherman Wilson, the Tigers' commitment from Jaxon Howard is a strong step in the right direction, especially after a week of direct criticism towards Kelly's staff.
Now I'm hearing our hungry, "backs against the wall" / "pressure on shoulders" staff aren't just about to bring in the players we outlined & predicted in this piece: From Home or Abroad, LSU are about to break 2023's bottomless recruiting class wide open....
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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