S. Carolina guard Matt Howard commits to Penn

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South Carolina shooting guard Matt Howard (white jersey) gave his verbal commitment to Penn on Wednesday. (Photo: C. Aluka Berry/The State)

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

High-scoring senior guard Matt Howard (Columbia, S.C./A.C. Flora HS) chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, giving Quakers head coach Jerome Allen arguably his biggest recruiting coup in his nearly four years at the helm of his alma mater.

A 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard, Howard Tweeted out his decision, picking Penn over offers from Stanford and Virginia Tech, according to ESPN.com; Rivals/Yahoo! also listed Virginia Commonwealth, William & Mary and Richmond as offers. A source tells CoBL that Howard also had heavy interest from Harvard; however, the Ivy League does not give out athletic scholarships.

ESPN.com lists Howard as the sixth-best player in the state of South Carolina and the 82nd-best shooting guard in the country, saying he is a “scorer who relies most heavily on his jump shot,” calling that his “weapon of choice.” Rivals has Howard as a three-star prospect, but offers no scouting report.

This continues what has been a strong string of recruiting for Allen and his staff despite three new assistants this season. Current Penn freshmen Tony Hicks (South Florida), Julian Harrell¬†(Stanford, San Diego, St. Louis) and Darien Nelson-Henry (Washington State, Gonzaga, Boise State) all turned down offers from “high-major” schools and should be valuable pieces for the Quakers possibly as soon as this season.

Howard is the third member of the Class of 2013 to choose to attend Penn next fall; he joins Union City (Ga.) point guard Tony Bagtas and North Hollywood (Ca.) F/C Dave Winfield, Jr., both of whom committed earlier this month.

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