Losing Howard is a blow no doubt, but its not something that is entirely unpredictable. Since committing to the Bearcats way back in May Howard has seen his profile skyrocket with offers flooding in from Miami, Mississippi State and West Virginia among others. That Howard would be tempted by those offers isn't exactly a surprise.
For the Bearcats class this is a blow, but it is a manageable one. They already have commitments from corners Joshua Norwood (Valdosta, GA) and Jhavonte Dean (Miami, FL) both of whom seem to fit the field corner mold for Hank Hughes defense better than Howard. But losing out on Howard means the Bearcats are in the market for a boundary corner, or someone who can project to the boundary.
Among the prospects who have reported offers there are several guys who fit the bill. One is Desmond Cain from American Heritage High School in South Florida, same school that produced Carter Jacobs and Tyler Cogswell. Cain already has an offer and is rumored to have UC and South Carolina out front. Another offered prospect is Justin Spencer of Ovideo, FL. Spencer currently favors the Bearcats along with Mississippi State. Another potential Howard replacement is Abu Daramy of Westerville Central. He does not currently have a UC offer, but he is camping in Cincinnati this Friday hoping to earn an offer. If he does he is expected to commit to the Bearcats.
So yes, losing Howard sucks, but this class is still in great shape and the staff has some options to replace Howard.