Khamal Howard, a two-time conference player of the year, has transferred from East Mecklenburg to a rival high school.
Howard, who will be a senior this fall, has moved and will play at Myers Park High. East Mecklenburg and Myers Park both play in the Southwestern 4A conference and will play Oct. 20 at East Mecklenburg.
State high school rules require a change in residence to switch schools without penalty.
Howard is a 5-foot-11, 210-pounder who ran for 2,337 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. That was the 10th best single-season performance in Mecklenburg County history. In each of the past two seasons, Southwestern 4A coaches voted Howard the league’s offensive player of the year.
At Myers Park, he’ll join a Mustangs team that was 11-2 last season, posting one of the best seasons in school history. Myers Park returns 11 starters, including star wide receiver Elijah Bowick. The Mustangs have added two other high-profile transfers: wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad II, son of the former Panther star of the same name, and quarterback Brayden Hawkins, who threw for more than 2,700 yards and 31 touchdowns at S.C. state power Dillon High last season.
East Mecklenburg coach Barry Shuford said the Eagles will insert 6-0, 180-pound Khalil Woods into the starting lineup to replace Howard.
“Khalil Woods had the best first day of practice we’ve ever had (from a player here),” Shuford said after practice Monday morning. “I wouldn’t doubt if he had the same number of carries over the years (as Howard), he wouldn’t be in the same situation.”
East Meck was 5-7 last season but returns 16 starters, Shuford said, and 32 lettermen. Among those returning is 6-3, 195-pound senior quarterback Khalil Gilliam.
Shuford said Monday’s opening day of practice was the best in his four years at the school.
“I think we’ve tweaked our offense a little bit and I think we’ll have a great year,” Shuford said. “I’m real excited about it. It was the smoothest first day of practice that I have had here. It was the best I’ve had in eight years. Everybody was here and wanted to work. And they worked their (butts) off to be better.”