Northwestern swooped into town just before Santa Claus, and was the first to offer the class-of-2009 standout a full-ride. Since then, the scholarship gift has kept on giving for Ward.
Patrick Ward currently holds nine scholarship offers. Wisconsin became the latest to step to the table at their junior day last weekend, joining, Illinois, Northern Illinois, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Purdue, Arizona, and the one from the Wildcats.
The 6-foot-7, 290-pound tackle from Providence Catholic High is hoping for another offer this Sunday when he attends Notre Dame's junior day.
"I'm just looking to get to know the coaches a little bit better," Ward said. This will be his third trip to South Bend. "Get a better feel for the campus and what they're football program is all about."
During the fall, Irish assistant coach Brian Polian made a trip to Providence Catholic. Ward attended the Notre Dame-Boston College game this past season, and also came to town last spring when his little brother was playing in a basketball tournament.
"It's excellent," Ward stated about the campus. "Phenomenal. They have the best of everything there."
Ward has also taken recent visits to Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue and Northwestern.
In helping his team finish 7-5 and advance to the state quarterfinals, Ward graded out at over 90 percent for the year. He also got time at both right tackle and left tackle.
"At the beginning of the year we played weak-side, strong-side, but at the end of the year I just played left," Ward explained.
"(Colleges) like my size and athleticism, that I play with good knee bend, and my ability to finish."
Ward, who's father played offensive tackle at Illinois, reports a bench press of 310 pounds, a squat of 560, and a 4.86 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
"He started my love of the game," Ward said of his Dad. "He's helped me with the drills and everything, just getting better each day. He helped me develop my work ethic."
Ward would like to make his college decision before next fall so he can focus on his senior season. As of right now, he doesn't have any other trips scheduled.
"I want to major in engineering, so I'm looking for a solid program in that," Ward said. "Then I want to go somewhere where I feel like I can win.
"Right now my favorites are the nine schools that have offered so far."
Perhaps Notre Dame will add itself to the list.