"That's how smart I was, having him at quarterback instead of fullback," Howard joked. "I worked with him at quarterback some, then we moved him over as an eighth grader before I left (for Ohatchee), when he was playing on the varsity. I came back, and he was one of those kids who had that same desire and same love for the game as a senior as he did when he was an eighth and ninth grader. A lot of times, kids burn out when they get there, but he didn't. That's what makes him special. He sustained that all the way through high school."
Some 4,600 yards and 57 touchdowns later, Livingston is now getting ready for the next phase of his football career. He signed a scholarship with Shorter University of Rome, Ga., on Wednesday.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I've wanted to play football at the next level," Livingston said. "I just wanted to go after that goal, and I tried my best every year, every off-season, to try and accomplish that goal. I'm glad it all worked out, but it seems a little unreal right now. It'll come to me about summertime once I hit workouts.
"I'm proud to go to Shorter. That's Division II football. It's a great conference they're in (Gulf South Conference). It's great college football."
Livingston is coming off Spring Garden's best season in school history (9-3). Last year, he accumulated 1,945 yards and 26 touchdowns to guide the Panthers to the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
The humble Livingston takes little credit for his success, instead giving praise to his teammates for putting him in a position to succeed.
"It was mainly a team effort," Livingston said. "I couldn't have done anything without (offensive lineman) BJ Turner, who signed with Faulkner, and the rest of my line. They all did a great job throughout the season opening up holes and getting me where I needed to go. We also have a great coaching staff, and we all want to be the best at everything there is.
"I was blessed to have the ability to be able to do this, and I'm always going to reflect back on my high school career and all my teammates who went through it all with me.
Howard said Shorter is "getting a gem" in Livingston.
"He brings so many of the intangibles to the table that often go unnoticed," Howard said. "Once he gets up there, and (Shorter) Coach (Phil) Jones and them recognize what they've got, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Forrest on the field playing next year as a true freshman. I know he's going to work hard in the off-season, get a little weight on him, get a little stronger. I think he'll be fine once he gets up there."
Livingston received interest from several schools, but he wanted to play somewhere close to home. Shorter not only provided him that opportunity, but it also made him feel welcome on his official visits.
"The first day I went up there, every time I met somebody, they were a lot more friendly than any of the other colleges I went to, Livingston said. "It was the little things that stuck out to me. Coach Jones is a really nice man and knows a lot of football.(Assistant) Coach (Shawn) Turner recruited me and has helped me a lot through the whole process. I've got a great relationship with him. I feel like can just call or text him any time I need him. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and getting that camraderie with them."
Livingston said Shorter will play him mainly at fullback, but he could also see time at other positions as well.
"They're going to put me at fullback, but if they run the spread-type option offense, it's going to H-back, where I'll be rotating in at tight end," he said. "They said I'd probably be blocking, and if I am a tight end, I might be going out in the flats for some small dump passes.
"I'm not the little fast back out there. I just want to get that third-and-one play and just keep the team going."