Ryan Howerton and his family showed up at Pitt’s South Side facility a little too early Saturday. Check-in was set for 10:30, but the Howertons were there a little before 10.
Instead of sending them away, Pitt showed a lot of love. And that isn’t lost on him.
“Everybody in the whole building was just nice,” Howerton told PSN. “Everybody in there was welcoming. They all actually had information. When we asked questions, everybody had answers. It wasn’t like they were sending me around to certain people, they actually knew what they were doing and they all had something to tell me.”
Howerton — 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman from St. Vincent Pallotti in Laurel, Maryland — made it out for Pitt’s Junior Day Saturday with the family.
But a great first impression may have set the whole visit off on the right foot, but the best part of the day?
— Ryan (Mountain) Howerton (@RyanHowerton78) January 22, 2023
“Is it crazy if I say the food there? Oh my gosh,” Howerton said. “We got there, the second we sat down, we paid the 10 dollars. I see why the Steelers are so big.”
It wasn’t just an afternoon of food and first impressions though. He was able to speak more with coach Andre Powell and coach Dave Borbely — and head coach Pat Narduzzi.
Borbely ran Howerton through some practice drills, asking him questions the whole time, and Powell walked him all around the South Side facility. He made a trip out to the Petersen Events Center for a Pitt basketball game, too.
“Because we got there early, we actually got to talk to some of the players doing their workouts,” Howerton said. “And they were talking highly of the school, so it was cool. We got to do a couple of individual talkings with the coach for each position, and they were able to break down stuff. I could understand it right now, and I’ve never been in the system.”
It was Howerton’s third time out in Pittsburgh, following a camp appearance with his St. Vincent Pallotti teammates over the summer and a game visit for the Syracuse game in November, and he’s seen how the relationship has progressed with each visit.
“It’s gotten so much stronger, like me and coach Powell are texting every other day,” Howerton said. “He said he’s about to come down to my school on Monday just to check in with me and a couple of my teammates. It’s getting strong.”
Howerton is the resident starting right tackle at St. Vincent Pallotti, and he often uses his size and strength to overwhelm defensive linemen who have the misfortune to line up across from him.
While neither 247Sports nor Rivals have rated Howerton yet, another summer of competing at camps before his senior season will likely see his stock rise quickly. He’s already picked up offers from Akron, Boston College, Maryland and West Virginia.
His visit schedule has consisted of James Madison, Maryland, Penn State and of course Pitt.
The most recent visit to Pittsburgh was the best yet, with the chance to see the facilities and interact with the coaching staff at an increased level, and he can see why Pitt can be a powerhouse in the ACC. And he can feel the love, too.
“They’re definitely top two, for sure,” Howerton said. “They’ve shown probably the most love of any school.”