Three star QB transfer Mack Howard shows promise for upcoming season


Anderson Shows, staff writer

New Oxford High School football quarterback Mack Howard has moved to town from Heritage Academy, hoping to a have great season. In March of 2022, he committed to play football at the University of Utah. Howard had thirteen total offers from schools all around the country including Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Arkansas State, and Mississippi State. In December of last year, Howard led the Patriots to win the MAIS 5A football state championship 51-21 with 334 passing yards and 6 touchdowns. 

 There were also many different choices when it came to picking a new high school in Mississippi for Mack’s final year of high school football. With many different schools in contention, Oxford stood out the most from other schools for many reasons. In the past two out of three years, Oxford has made an appearance in the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship against the Oak Grove Warriors and even won their first ever championship in 2019 over the Warriors. Also, nine out of the past ten years, the Charger football team has made a playoff appearance. So, it is to no surprise that Howard can see Oxford’s recent success. 

“With Coach Cutcliffe and all the recent success Oxford has had in the past, it should be a great stepping stone while progressing to Utah,” Howard said. “Utah won the Pac 12 championship last year and were in the top 15 teams the last 5 years. Also the history behind the program, the team as a whole, and just the chance to play college football is really exciting.”

Last season at Heritage Academy, Howard led his team with 3,475 passing yards, 47 passing touchdowns, and ended the season with a 12-1 record and 4-0 in their district. Howard is a talented quarterback and has quickly become a helping hand on the field regarding not only football. 

Howard has also brought an all around constructive environment to the team. Hoping for another successful season this year, senior Lucian Giles mentions that Howard is continuously showing his leadership on the field despite having a brand new team and opponents.

“He’s been a fantastic leader. As a guy on the defense I don’t get to be around him a lot at practice but every time I turn around I see him helping someone out whether that’s helping them understand a new play or correcting something from the last play. Not only that but he just brings a great positive energy to the team,” Giles said.

From his first day at practice to his first game here at Oxford, Howard is making an impact that will stay with the players and the coaches for the entire season. 

“I feel like ever since the first day he got here Mack had had an immediate impact. I remember his first day here was the first day of our spring boot camp. Not exactly the easiest thing to do for your first day. Despite that Mack went out there and he was rooting on guys he hadn’t even met yet and I think that just showed everyone on the team what a great teammate he is,” said Giles. 

Howard and one of his teammates, linebacker Alex Sanford, have shown their talents even before the season started when they secured their spot on the Clarion Ledger 2022 Dandy Dozen. This will mark Oxford High School’s first time having two players, one from offense and one from defense, on the Dandy Dozen. This also marks Howard’s first time appearing on the Dandy Dozen list, and Oxford’s 5th ever having a member on the Dandy Dozen, others including D.K. Metcalf, Jack Abraham, and JJ Pegues. With the season opener coming up against Brandon, Howard has already shown  instant affect to the team.

“It’s always been a childhood dream of mine to be a part of the Dandy Dozen,” Howard said. “Getting to be around and meeting new people and new friends, as well as just being around town is great. You know, all the guys have taken me in, treated me right, really embraced me honestly.”

Though Howard will only be at Oxford for the 2022 football season, he has still shown immense care for the team and the program. Despite having just arrived to Oxford last spring, OHS head football coach Cris Cutliffe emphasizes how Howard has already created a family-like bond on the field, off the field and in the locker room for the upcoming season. 

“I think Mack has been a great teammate, and I think he’s done a great job coming into a new place and immediately taking on that role of being a great contributor to the team. He’s also been a great leader in the locker room and on the field, he certainly has a lot of ability and we are excited to see what he can do this fall,” Cutcliffe said on the Cross the Line podcast.

Moving from a smaller school, like Heritage, to one of the largest schools in the state, like Oxford, can be intimidating to a new quarterback. With transitioning to a larger school, it also means playing larger schools on the road and at home. Senior Cashe Shows mentions how Howard has already shown his readiness, toughness and fearlessness before coming into the new upcoming football season.

“He’s really got that dog mentality in his head. He’s not the kind of quarterback that if he takes off running and he gets popped out of bounds, he’ll pop right back up and start getting in your face, he’s got no fear. You know he’s the kind of guy you want back there playing quarterback,” Shows said on the Cross the Line podcast.

Considering what’s to come, a successful year this season could set Oxford up for a good future. With only one state championship in program history, another state championship would prove who Charger Nation is and who we are to become. After coming off of a state championship win last season at Heritage Academy, Howard hopes to do the same here at Oxford this season. With a good leader and a good team chemistry, Howard and the Chargers should set themselves up for another successful season ending in an MHSAA 6A Class State Championship.

“Let’s just win a state championship,” Howard said.