Recruiting networks rarely devote much time or energy to covering punters but at least one publication devoted to the position named recent NC State commit Chris Ward from Starr’s Mill High School in Fayetteville, Ga the top punter prospect in the nation.
Rafter Pro Training declared Ward as their top punter for the class of 2009 and after watching him in action it would be difficult to disagree. The rising senior hit the ball consistently throughout his workout at NC State supervised by Wolfpack special team’s coach Jerry Petercuskie. Ward nailed several punts in excess of 50 yards and had impressive hang time on nearly all of his kicks.
During drills which tested his ability to drop kicks inside the 20, Ward put punt after punt out of bounds inside the 10 yard line. His hands were also tested and coach Petercuskie ran a drill that simulated receiving the snap from center. Petercuskie, standing roughly 10 feet away from Ward, would zip the ball into him at different angles. Ward handled them all cleanly including the ones that skirted along the ground. In all he proved to be the top punter out of nearly a dozen kickers that worked out at NC State. His efforts were rewarded with a scholarship offer to play for the Pack.
After receiving notice of his offer this past Friday, Ward waited until his father arrived home on Saturday before a call was made to coach Petercuskie notifying him of his decision to run with the Pack.
Ward told Pack Pride that the decision to commit to NC State was an easy one after seeing the Wolfpack program up close.
“I loved State,” he said. “The facilities were unbelievable. I had never seen anything like them. Coach Petercuskie was a great guy and I felt like I could be coached by him and it was just the right place for me.”
Ward added that he’s closed the book on recruiting and is now focused on his senior season and arrival in Raleigh for the 2009 season.
“I’m done with all the other schools,” he said. “I cancelled all the other camps and NC State is my place.
“I was looking at Memphis, Maryland, Georgia and then I was going to go to Michigan and they were pretty interested but I got the offer from NC State and I was like, I’m cancelling it and NC State is what I chose.”
As a junior, Ward averaged nearly 42 yards per punt en route to all-county and all-region honors.