Newingtonâ€™s Austyn Howe is headed north to continue his football career, committing to Franklin Pierce University this week.
Howe announced his commitment to play for the Ravens on Twitter Monday afternoon. The Ravens, a Div. II school playing out of the Northeast-10 Conference, are based out of Rindge, New Hampshire.
A handful of NE-10 schools were after Howe, who was selected as an all-CCC first-team player and was a CHSCA All-State Top-26 pick this past season.
â€śPretty much the rest of the NE-10 Conference [was recruiting me],â€ť said Howe. â€śI had an offer from Southern (Connecticut State University), I had visits lined up and zoom calls scheduled with Stone Hill and New Haven. â€¦ Outside of that, Endicott [too].â€ť
The decision to move out of state, despite plenty of opportunity to remain in Connecticut, came from Howeâ€™s want to get away â€“ but not too far away.
â€śI wanted to get away from home to kind of experience that college life, but I didnâ€™t want to get too far away so I can go back home to my parents if I needed to, and they can get up to the games,â€ť Howe said.
Franklin Pierce, when it came down to it, was exactly what Howe was looking for. The approximately two hour drive to just over the New Hampshire state line also aligned with a more personal draw to Howeâ€™s personality and style of living.
â€śI visited it and I think it fits perfect because Iâ€™m a kid that kind of stays to myself, a little bit shy,â€ť said Howe. â€śThe school kind of being in the woods a little bit is perfect to me, honestly.â€ť
When it came to football, Howe isnâ€™t shying away from joining a team that is in the midst of a rebuilding phase. The Ravens are former members of the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL), joining in 2013, but announced their departure in 2018. The league, which features both Navy and Army, has a max weight limit of 183 and personnel limits. Since leaving, the Ravens have won one game (in 2019) and went winless this past fall with a missed 2020 season due to COVID-19.
Howe acknowledges it being a tough transition, going from the league to a Div. II level, but plans to bring the edge he had this season with Newington into a locker room where heâ€™s going to have to reprove himself as one of the best players on the field.
â€śLooking at the recruits theyâ€™re bringing in now, and the fact they started off in the Sprint Football Conference, â€¦ itâ€™s obvious itâ€™s going to be a tough jump (in rebuilding),â€ť said Howe. â€śIâ€™m definitely going into the season with a chip on my shoulder, kind of like what I did this year with our Newington team. Everyone was doubting us, saying we werenâ€™t going to be good, and itâ€™s almost like the same circumstances now. Itâ€™s just going in there knowing I have to prove everyone wrong and make my family proud.â€ť
Howe finished his season with strong numbers on offense, rushing for 370 yards with six touchdowns, both of which were second on the team among rushers. He was also the teamâ€™s second leading receiver with 801 yards on 47 catches, and led the club in receiving touchdowns with 14. He was the leader in all-purpose yardage for Newington this season with 1,171 in 10 games played.
On the defensive side of the ball he led the team in tackles with 35, averaging 3.5 a game. He also had a sack, and one interception.