Ed Howard is a pretty good bowler. His best score is 225. Of course, compared to his sister Capri, that 225 doesn't look like anything special.
"She definitely got me on the bowling," Howard said. "She bowled a 300 in high school, so that’s pretty impressive."
Fortunately for the 18 year-old, he's got a fallback sport: baseball. And it's a sport he's pretty good at, so good that MLB.com considers Howard, a shortstop, the 15th best prospect in the entire 2020 draft class.
"I want to go down as one of the best shortstops to ever play," said Howard. "I want to be a great player on the field, and I also want to go down in history as a great person off the field. I want to be a winner too. I want to win many World Series, and that’s just kind of my goals for my career."
When it comes to baseball, the native of the south suburbs has been dreaming big for a long time. He started playing when he was seven years-old. At 12, he starred on Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team that reached the Little League World Series. But he was always on the smaller side. When he first walked through the doors at Mount Carmel High School in 2016, Howard was 5'4" and less than 140 pounds.
"Going into high school, I came in as a small kid, physically," Howard admits. "I was behind. I wasn't strong. But I got with my trainer my freshman year, Jason Griffin, and we just went hard in the gym."
The hard work paid off. He started to grow, built muscle, honed his skills, and today, he's a 6'3", 193 pound standout who's been named Gatorade's Illinois Baseball Player of the Year.
"It just shows all the hard work I put in," said Howard. "It shows me where I came from to where I’m at now. If anything, it shows me that hard work always pays off, so it just motivates me to keep going."
He'll either keep going at Oklahoma, where he's committed to play college baseball, or as a professional. Odds are, it'll be as a professional. Howard is projected as a mid-first round pick in next month's MLB Draft. Signing bonuses for players picked in the middle of the first round generally exceed $3 million.
"That’s a decision with my family, my advisors," Howard said. "It’s definitely a decision. Depending on the opportunity with the draft, we’ll just have to see that day, that week following the draft, how things will play out."
Regardless of his choice to go to college or begin his pro career, he knows when he hears his name called when the draft begins on June 10th, it'll be a moment he never forgets.
"It’s definitely something I always thought about," Howard said. "I think that’s everybody’s dream – or at least it was mine. Growing up, it always was, 'Hopefully I can get drafted as high as possible some day'. For it to be so close is definitely exciting," he added.