Linebacker Grayson “Pup” Howard has committed to the Florida Gators after entering the transfer portal from South Carolina. Howard, one of Florida’s top targets in the class of 2023 from Jacksonville, initially chose the Gamecocks over the Gators. However, one year later, he joins a Florida team that is in desperate need of improving its linebacker room. Sources tell Gators Breakdown that Howard will play more inside linebacker and can be moved to the edge on rush downs and other packages.
Listed at 6-4 and 241 pounds, Howard played in 11 games during his one season with the Gamecocks. He recorded a total of 19 tackles, with 10 being solo stops and one tackle for loss. He also forced a fumble. His most impressive game statistically was in the win over Furman in Week 2, where he logged four tackles, three of which were solo stops. Howard also recorded three tackles against Tennessee and Texas A&M, and his forced fumble came against Vanderbilt.
As a recruit, Howard graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Florida in December 2022. He played the MIKE linebacker position and was instrumental in helping the Tigers win their first district title since 2009 and qualify for the Sunshine State’s new 2M playoffs in 2022. In 11 games, he accumulated a total of 188 tackles, with 106 of them being solo stops. He was also invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was coached by Christopher Foy. In 2021, he was recognized as a News4JaxSports first-team and an All-Gateway selection. During that season, he led the team with 157 tackles and recorded 14 tackles for loss, contributing to the Tigers’ 7-4 record and their best season in 12 years. As a sophomore in 2000, he received Florida Times-Union All First-Coast third-team honors after making over 100 tackles in nine games.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Howard was ranked as the 42nd-best prospect in the state of Florida, the 18th-best linebacker in the country, and 183rd overall. On On3 Consensus, he was considered the 40th-best player in Florida, the 19th-best linebacker in the country, and 182nd overall. Additionally, he was ranked as the 42nd-best player in the state, the 15th-best outside linebacker, and 177th on the ESPN300.