COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - “College football, it’s different,” said Syracuse freshman running back Jarveon Howard. “It’s smash-mouth, basically.”
It did not take long for Howard to make his mark with the Syracuse Orange.
The East Marion grad burst onto the college football scene with a 45-yard dash against Florida State in week three. Since then, he’s rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns – popping off helmets in the process.
Just last week, the Columbia native awed his teammates by benching 385 pounds, three times.
“People look at, ‘Oh you’re strong,’” Howard said. “I mean, you basically have to have that in Mississippi. Basically down south, it’s smash-mouth football in between the trenches every night, every practice. When I came here, I was basically prepared.”
The term “country strong” has been used to describe a number of football players that were born and bred in Mississippi.
East Marion head coach Kevin Jackson said Howard had a different kind of strength from a young age.
“Here we got a 7th-grader in the gym working out like a grown man, even at 13, 14 years-old,” Jackson said. “He’s just had tremendous work habits ever since I’ve known him. He genuinely loves football. The heat, the weights, the running – it wasn’t a big deal with him. He wanted to do it, he wanted to get better every single day he went on the practice field.”
Howard learned firsthand what hard work is from being raised by a single mother.
His goal was to become the first in his family to graduate college. After rushing for over 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns as an East Marion senior, Howard had scholarship offers from colleges across the south.
Over 1,300 miles away in Syracuse, New York turned out to be his best choice.
“I think Jarveon is a very mature young man,” Jackson said. “And I just believe he made the best, informed decision for himself. [He] put himself in the best situation so he could get the opportunity to play as a freshman.”
“Throughout the process, you’re going to know who’s for you and who’s not,” Howard said. “It was obviously a good program. I wanted to be different. Yeah, I wanted to leave and see. Wherever I go, I’m just going to go make my mark. For me getting the opportunity, I just had to run with it.”