Son of former Cardinal great off to roaring start to recruiting process
Jaxon Howard is growing into a fearsome Trench Dog. The son of Willie Howard, one of the best defensive lineman to play for Stanford, Jaxon reports 33 offers before his sophomore season and has been recognized as one of the top young players to watch.
LSU, Florida, Georgia, Washington and many other schools have offered the young Minnesotan.
Willie played at Stanford from 1996-2000 and was a leader of the defensive line unit that called itself the "Trench Dogs" -- they had a total of 46 sacks in 1999. He was an All Pac-10 selection and winner of the Morris Trophy (voted on by opposing offensive linemen) the season Stanford made a surprise run to the Rose Bowl.
"Growing up, the only college that I really had an opportunity to see was Stanford and that is because my dad coaches Friday nights," Jaxon said in a recent message to Cardinal Sports Report. "So my dad in the past has made sure that we tried to get to homecoming games as well as visit over the summer.
"My dad has a Stanford tattoo and has talked about how Stanford shaped him into the man he is today. He talked about the leadership of Coach (Tyrone) Willingham and Coach Dave Tipton, as well as his experience building relationships with the entire Stanford community. He did say that classes challenged him to give more and stretch his thinking, while also talking about the amazing support that was set up for all students."
Jaxon already has a comfort level with Stanford that even many incoming freshmen to the university don't have. Howard has only just finished his freshman year of high school and played at a high level at tight end and defensive end for Robbinsdale Cooper High in Minnesota.
Willie has been the head coach at Robbinsdale since 2010 and is an assistant principal.
Jaxon is very active with his recruiting process and isn't waiting around until coaches are allowed to contact him. He has reached out to tight end's coach Morgan Turner a number of times and Willie has also been in touch with coaches.
"I am blessed looking at my options that I already have. There are so many amazing coaching staffs that have expressed their trust and confidence in my ability.
"I make it a point to try to contact the recruiting coach once a week, to once every two weeks, especially the teams that have offered me as we have a mutual interest in each other. And with COVID-19 and distance-learning I’ve been able to continue reaching out and talking to many teams that have not offered yet, but again it’s still about building relationships because I have three quality years to find out the best fit for me."
And what that is for Jaxon may not be what was best for his father with Stanford, but Jaxon said his father has tried to prepare him so that he could go to Stanford one day if he wanted.
His brother, Phoenix Sproles, is a junior and starting wide receiver at North Dakota State and his sister just finished her nursing degree. Jaxon remembers taking pictures with his brother by the murals of his dad at Stanford's football offices.
"My dad told all his children to give 100% in the class and in the community to even have a chance to get in to Stanford. He has also told us both to be better than he ever was and he provides us with the support for whatever in life we want to do.
"His role in my opinion as a Father is about encouraging us to take smart risks. Be willing to try new things understanding that Sunday is a goal but the reality is less than one percent makes it to the NFL. So he gives us training and support and guidance to make that one percent while also giving us tools academically to be a CEO or a doctor."
Stanford does not offer freshmen, and doesn't offer many sophomores, but Jaxon's efforts on the field and in communication has gotten the attention of the coaches earlier than most. He's done all he can in the classroom as well with a 4.0 GPA to clear the way to an offer someday.
With three high school seasons left it's uncertain what position Howard will play in college, but it's entirely possible that four years from now there will be another Howard making plays in cardinal and white.