Oakland end likes Zona

Finding top pass catchers that are big enough and mean enough to play the tight end position is a top priority for college coaches. With offenses always evolving that are more and more using the extra receiver with blocking skills the need is definitely there for literally every program.

One of the top tight end prospects in the country is Na Derris Ward from Oakland, California's McClymonds High School. Schools from all over the country have been in to see the stud end this spring and many have extended offers, around 20 or so.

"Things have been going good for me," said the 6-foot-5 inch, 245 pound Ward. "I have approximately 20 offers right now. Out of those offers I have about eight schools that I am looking at real strong right now. Those schools are Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona, Mississippi State, Washington, Kansas State and Oregon State."

Now that he has it down to eight schools Ward is trying to pair it down even further but is finding that to be a tough task.

"Right now I don't really have a favorite or anything," he said. "If I did it would be Georgia but I am basically open to all of those schools right now."

When it comes to picking his school for the next four or five years, Ward says that the coaching staff will play a big role. His ability to make an impact within the program will also be a large factor for Ward.

"I want a coach that will help me become a man," said the soft spoken Ward. "That is one of the things that college is for and it is definitely something I will look for. I like intense coaches on the field but I like a coach that will help me grow off the field too. I definitely want to make an impact from my first practice on. I want to go in and work and help make my teammates better and I know they will make me better."

Concerning Arizona, Ward admits that he does not know a lot about the school itself but he has sparked a good relationship with his lead recruiter, Tim Kish.

"I have spoken to coach Kish a lot actually," said Ward. "I have called him quite a few times and I like coach Kish a lot. He seems like a real good guy. He is honest and is just a real nice guy. I have talked to their tight ends coach a little too but not too much. I don't really know a lot about Arizona the school, I know it is real hot down there (laugh). That is not going to matter though. I know they have had two very good recruiting classes the last couple years and that they look to have a good future. I also know that they need help at the tight end position so I could have an impact there."

Ward's cousin, Joshua Tatum, is also being heavily recruited by schools from around the country and Na Derris admits that they have talked about going to the same school.

"We have talked about that a little bit, some schools have come up," he said. "Our recruiting interests are very different though so I don't know if that will happen."

Ward, who is close to his mother, knows that she would like him to stay close to home but as of right now the local Cal Bears do not make his top eight as they come in just outside at number nine.

"She does want me to stay close to home but Cal didn't make my top eight right now," commented Ward. "I like Cal an everything but they are like at number nine right now so unfortunately they didn't make my top eight. I do want to get away a little bit and become my own man and grow up."

Ward has a 2.9 grade point average and has scored a 790 on the SAT but will retake the test in the future.

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