A few weeks ago, cornerback Marcus Ward indicated in his interview with BulldogBlitz.com that "I wanted to make a decision before this season coming up," Ward said. "But now if I don't have what I want then I'm going to wait.
Well, for the prospect out of Vestavia Hills (Ala.), one such opportunity unfolded yesterday while he and his teammates at Vestavia High School were in the midst of his team workout.
"I just picked up an offer from Army today," an excited Ward declared. "This morning West Point called ... Coach Holmes (Clarence) and gave me an offer. Before that, I started off with an offer from Wofford, then Memphis gave me an offer, UAB then Air Force, then I picked up one from South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette and the University of Penn."
"It's funny, because I was actually at workouts this morning at 8 o'clock," said Ward as he shared with GoBlackKnights yesterday. "I saw that Coach Holmes had called and left a voice mail and I called him back. He's a really cool guy and he's from Decatur, Georgia. He's a real down to earth guy, he's really good to talk to and fun to talk to. I have already known about the academies, because of Air Force had explained everything to me. But Army is really really a great opportunity. The education is off the charts, because it is the best in the country. At my household, education is top tier and we have to get that down before we do football stuff. I told him, that I am highly considering West Point because it's such a great place to go. When I actually told (Army offer) my dad and he was really happy. He was telling me the same thing, that West Point is probably one of the best schools in America and I told some of my teammates and they were saying the same thing."
At an impressive 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Ward holds down the cornerback spot, but will also see reps at free safety. Last season he registered 43 tackles, 10 pass breakups and one interception.
With his physicality, size and range, Ward may be more suited for safety at the college level. The Alabama native is also a student of the game and shared with GBK some of the players that enjoys watching, although his all-time will come as no surprise, because Ward's game is very similar in style.
"There's not one player, there's a bunch of guys I like," he adds. "Dre Kirkpatrick obviously, he's a hometown guy, Alabama, I'll be watching him; Patrick Peterson, LSU; Morris Clayborn, LSU. But one player and a lot of people don't remember him is Sean Taylor, the Redskins. I loved him, I loved him man ... I watch a bunch of his highlights on youtube. I think that he's one of the best players to ever grace the NFL."
Ward has also spent time calculating what type of school and football program would work best for him and his talents. "I'm looking for a place that I can call home," says the hard hitting defensive back. "I really hate to say it like that, but lately when I've been thinking about the offers that I have, I really want a place that I wouldn't have a problem going to where I could feel happy. I just want to be up there and not wanting to be missing home .... getting homesick or whatever."
"I've actually kind of realized that I really don't want to go too far off. Now considering the school and the opportunities that I would have there, I would have to reconsider that. I want to stay in the southeast. Location really big for me, but playing for Army and attending West Point, which is probably the most prestigious school in America. So considering that, they deserve to be at the top and I'm definitely putting them there."
Although it appears location will factor into Ward's decision, he reiterated that the Army offer presents a different spin on his recruiting formula. "When it comes to West Point's location, it's not really close, but it's not far either," says Ward, who noted that the academy's environment, versus the portrayed cultures within such programs like Penn State is inviting, refreshing and potentially rewarding. "But what I would receive after graduating there, you can't turn that down."
"I think that's why West Point is the most prestigious school because they sat that out first and teach you how to be the best basically. I love that about them. To me and the way I live my life, shape my live ... yeah that's definitely an environment that I could put myself into."
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