2008 Intro: E.J. Abrams-Ward

THOMASVILLE, N.C. --- Heading into his junior campaign, E.J. Abrams-Ward, already considered one of the top 2008 recruits, envisioned a fantastic season at linebacker. However after injuring his back during the opening game, Abrams-Ward's season was in jeopardy.

Fortunately, Abrams-Ward returned to Thomasville's roster after missing six games, but at a new position – quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder excelled in his new role, helping lead the Bulldogs to their third straight NCHSAA 1AA title.

"I thought I was out for the season after I fractured my back," said Abrams-Ward. "So being able to come back and being sort of looked at as a leader on the offensive side of the ball along with Quan [Warley], it was a great thing. It was great to be by his side and win the state championship."

Abrams-Ward, who completed 29-of-47 passes for 596 yards and six touchdowns last season in a run-oriented offense, was named the championship game's Offensive Player-of-the-Game for Thomasville.

"That game, I did pretty well at the time when it came for me to run the ball and throw the ball," said Abrams-Ward. "That game was basically Quan Warley's game and it showed – he played well. We played well as a team."

The injury and position change hasn't hindered Abrams-Ward's recruiting stock; it has actually helped it.

"At first it was linebacker, but when I came back [from my injury] a lot of schools jumped on QB – from linebacker to quarterback," said Abrams-Ward. "I don't know which one they're recruiting me for now, but they said that they like my ability to play both sides of the ball. I'd say the bulk of [my attention] is for linebacker."

Benjie Brown, Thomasville's head football coach, believes Abrams-Ward's college days would be best spent on defense.

"To me, I think he's a defensive player of some sort," said Brown. "He can be an outside linebacker [or] he could put his hand down and be a rush guy out wide. That's what I think.

"But now also, you've got to understand that he's very raw at quarterback. We've not spent much time training him. What he's learned, he's learned on the run."

As long as Abrams-Ward sees significant playing time, he doesn't care what position he's being recruited for.

"It really doesn't matter just as long as I can come in and be a great asset to the team," said Abrams-Ward. "It really doesn't matter [if it's] linebacker, quarterback, wide receiver, punter – it really doesn't matter."

Abrams-Ward has already received scholarship offers from Clemson, East Carolina, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wake Forest, while schools like Auburn, Boston College, Florida, and Notre Dame have inquired about him.

"He's a very instinctive football player on both sides of the ball," said Brown. "He's a rangy, athletic kid that can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. It's hard to find a guy that is his height and covers the amount of ground that he covers. He anticipates things well, times blitzes well, [and] he's a great cover guy.

"On offense, he's got phenomenal arm strength and just a lot of raw talent."

The majority of Abrams-Ward's offers – including UNC – came in the last week.

"[North Carolina] called and my coach was talking to them," said Abrams-Ward. "[I didn't get to talk to them], but they said they'll send me an official letter about [my offer], but they said they offered me."

Abrams-Ward will attend North Carolina's Junior Day on March 4th when the basketball team hosts Duke. He then plans to be on hand for at least one day of spring practice in Chapel Hill.

"I'm going to go down there for a day, see how they interact, [and] see how the feel for it is," said Abrams-Ward. "They got a new coach and hopefully I'll be able to talk more with the staff and see how that program is run now."

Abrams-Ward also hopes to take in spring practices at other schools, but isn't sure of his destinations outside of UNC.

Additionally, Abrams-Ward says he'll participate in "two-to-three" camps over the summer, but isn't sure which ones. All of his interested schools have sent out invitations to their respective camps.

At this point, Abrams-Ward isn't claiming any favorites.

"All those schools that are looking at me are well rounded schools for me, so I can't necessarily say right now who would be the best school," said Abrams-Ward. "But they're all nice schools."

Abrams-Ward said he isn't exactly sure when he will make a verbal commitment.

"I probably won't make my decision until the middle of [my] basketball season or I'd say after football season," he said.

Also a standout in basketball, Abrams-Ward says the possibility of playing both sports in college could factor into his final decision. East Carolina is the lone school to offer in both sports, and Wake Forest is the only other school to discuss the opportunity to become a two-sport player.

Currently, Abrams-Ward's focus is on his junior basketball season where Thomasville is in the sectional round of the NCHSAA's 1A tournament.

After his basketball season concludes, he'll begin to prepare for his senior football season, where a return to under center is likely.

"We'll play it by ear, but he's probably going to be our quarterback," said Brown. "We are a run first team, but he does a lot of hidden things as far as getting the correct plays in at the line of scrimmage. Obviously, we're going to use his ability to throw and he's got a great ability to run, too. We'll have to tweak our offense to use his abilities a lot more [this year]."

E.J. Abrams-Ward Profile

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