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Jarveon Howard has a 'brother' in Johnathan Abram as he pursues NFL dream

Alcorn State running back and Saints safety share a high school and hometown

Photos from HBCU Legacy Bowl practice at Tulane's Yulman Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.
Photos from HBCU Legacy Bowl practice at Tulane's Yulman Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

While running back Jarveon Howard pursues the NFL dream at the Allstate HBCU Legacy Bowl, he can look to New Orleans Saints safety Johnathan Abram to show him it can be done for a kid from Columbia, Miss.

Howard and Abram attended East Marion High School in Columbia, a city of about 7,000 residents. Howard said Abram has been like a "brother" to him as he prepares to try to make it to the NFL.

"During this process, it's kind of crazy. You need someone to lean on and Johnathan is the guy to go to," Howard said.

Howard will be playing for Team Robinson on Saturday when the game kicks off at 3 p.m. at Yulman Stadium and also participated in Monday's HBCU Combine in Abram's place of work, the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

"So, when I went out there, when I walk into the facility, I thought about him the whole time, like 'how he goes about practice here,' and I know how he goes about practice because I know how he went about practice … when he was there his senior year, he didn't let up and yesterday I was like I can't let up on these people I got to give everything I got."

The two briefly overlapped with Abram's senior year being 2014 and Howard playing on the varsity team that year in his eighth-grade season.

Howard said that despite the process being different for Abram, who was a highly touted prospect out of Mississippi State selected 27th overall in the 2019 draft, Abram's given him very useful advice as Howard looks to write his own NFL story.

"He just told me to clear my mind and do what I need to do and that was the thing. He was telling me 'You're going to run into things that, you know, you might think you can't handle, but … you can overcome that.'"

Howard has drawn the eyes of evaluators with NFL Network analyst Charles Davis singling him out as one of the players who impressed him at the Combine.

"I saw this kid Jarveon Howard today out of Alcorn State and I loved him on tape, I loved watching him today."

Davis echoed those sentiments through the first two days of practice. Davis is not the only one who has noticed Howard as fellow NFL Network analyst and former front office executive Scott Pioli put Howard on his list of players to watch at the bowl calling him "a hard runner with a compact build" at 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds.

Howard spent two seasons at Alcorn State rushing for 2,048 yards and 19 touchdowns, earning first-team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference honors in 2022 and 2023. He transferred to Alcorn State from Syracuse University where he spent time primarily as a short yardage back, rushing for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 29 games with the Orange.

Howard said on Saturday that he wants to show "just giving everything I got."

"They can give me one carry, it wouldn't matter," the running back said. "As long as my team is up on the scoreboard and I'm doing everything, being reliable for my team, it wouldn't matter."

Notes from HBCU Legacy Bowl Practice Day 2

Wednesd marked the second day of practice as the team's prepare for the game on Saturday. Team Gaither took the morning slot with Team Robinson in the afternoon.

Some members of Team Robinson did watch the end of Team Gaither's practice. Team Gaither quarterback Davius Richard out of North Carolina Central University said they were paying them back in kind for their own scouting

"We had done the same thing so they were just trying to return the favor," Richard said.

Richard said his team is significantly improving its chemistry as the players work to familiarize themselves with the playbook and each other saying the team's efficiency from Tuesday to Wednesday was "night and day."

Larry Scott, coach of Howard University and co-head coach of Team Gaither, said he was happy with the progression of the team in the playbook and chemistry.

"Day one they are kind of drinking through a fire hose, taking it all in," Scott said. "What you want to see them do is progressively get better from the meetings, making the meetings and bringing the meetings to the grass and practice, and they really did that today."

Photos from HBCU Legacy Bowl practice at Tulane's Yulman Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.

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