If you listen to the fans of the school one kid is going to, they will often say that it's a good thing the kid was detailed in his decision-making and didn't let an initial commit keep him from making the right choice in the end.
To those fans of the school which no longer has a commitment, that kid might be described as indecisive and flaky, at best,.
Running back Lester Ward has heard all that and been criticized to a degree, but his mind-set and what supported his decision to go from being a Baylor commit to now that of future Husker, was absolutely clear.
Nebraska was a great place, but it wasn't Nebraska which convinced him to change his mind.
"The Lord called me and I had to do what he said," Ward said. "When God speaks to you, you obey. The Lord called me to Baylor, but when I visited Nebraska and I met coach Ron Brown, I knew where God wanted me to go."
Ron Brown is Nebraska 's tight end coach, Brown coming off a four-year hiatus from coaching, at one point a wide receiver coach, amongst other positions, for over 15 years. That kind of experience helped Brown in illustrating what he knew about the game, but it was who Ron Brown is which cemented a relationship between the two for the future.
Along with his many duties as a coach, Brown has been a Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, has preached across the entire country and has a number of organizations he's involved with and he's even the host of the FCA's weekly radio show, "Sharing the Victory."
For someone like Ward, whose faith means as much to him as it does, that resume' is nice, but it was Brown himself who showed him something he had been looking for throughout the recruiting process. "Coach Brown is a good man and a humble man. He's a brother in Christ," Lester said. "When someone is like that, and you know this is a person who has sold out to the Lord, you just have something that really mends you two together."
As Ward has ventured through the recruiting process, he's obviously met a good number of people he feels are solid-down-to-earth-types, who have similar values to him. But Brown strikes him as being somewhat unique. There's a certain lip service which is given to recruits, messages coming from people who are trying to say everything you want to hear. But Ward saw in Brown someone who wore his beliefs on his sleeve and it wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it to him. "I wasn't really expecting to meet someone like him, because you do get kind of used to some people speaking to itchy ears, telling you want they think you want to hear," Ward said. "Coach Brown is a man of Christ, and you know it by what he says and how he says it."
While Ward said that his parents tried to remove themselves as much from the actual decision-making process, he said that his ultimate decision was something they approved of, and Brown was someone who had a major impact on them as well.
To the actual commitment and the football-aspect, no matter how superficial it might be in comparison to what really drives Ward, Lester said that he was excited for the future. At 6-3 and around 200 pounds, many have speculated that the future didn't exist at running back, but at another position which might benefit from someone of his size and speed.
It's all running back for Ward, however, which is what he plans to play. And when it comes to putting what he has against other candidates for the position, he's confident in what he can do. "Running back is a position where what you do is unique to who you are. You can't be the best running back you can be by trying to imitate someone else," he said. "I have a long stride which makes it look like I am going slower than I am. But I am also a physical runner who isn't afraid to put my head down and go right up the middle."
Ward had a very limited senior campaign at Brenham High this last season, due to a hamstring injury which hampered him almost the entire year. Of the double-digit games his team played, Ward was only a participant in four. Of those four, Ward said that he had over a hundred yards rushing in two of them and close to that in the other two.
While the decision is late-coming for Ward as he becomes the first commit of February this year and the 23rd commit overall, he's already feeling a major sense of relief. Signing day will be perhaps the official release, you might say, but once he changed his mind and opted for Nebraska , the burden of weight he said he had, started to lift.
While many might tell you that they are faithful, that they do go to church every week and try to live their life in a spiritual manner, it's not often you see any young person do something which is potentially life-changing, based on a call from above.
Ward has no problem with those who don't understand, but he's feeling liberated by his decision and now he just looks toward the future. "With a life-changing decision like this is, you work the kinks out, seek the council of many and hope that spiritually, you made the right choice," Ward said. "I did that. I know that my decision is one where the Lord called me and I answered.
"It's a big relief. Now I can get back to class and worry about class. I can get back to just being me."