Vols Eye N.C. Athlete

Since scholarship allowances for college football aren't ever likely to be increased it's important for coaches to compensate by recruiting prospects that can fill multiple roles.

One of the most intriguing such prospects in the Class of 2008 is E.J. Abrams-Ward of Thomasville, N.C. How versatile is he? Well the 6-foot-5, 210-pound star played quarterback, tight end, fullback and linebacker as a junior. He was the Thomasville starting fullback as a sophomore and he could easily grow into rush end or a tight end on the next level.

Becoming a quarterback on the next level would take some doing, but he is enough of an athlete that some schools would love to line him up behind center and let him learn. Tennessee would probably prefer Abrams-Ward chasing opposing signal callers, but is recruiting him as an athlete.

Whatever school is fortunate enough to sign him will get a player with a ton of experience and a background of success. He helped lead Thomasville to the Class-2A state football title as a sophomore and junior, and the 32 games they played to accomplish that feat included 12 playoff contests. Last fall Thomasville posted a perfect 16-0 record en route to defending its championship. By the way, Abrams-Ward also played on the Thomasville basketball team that captured the Class-AA Tar Heel State crown in 2006.

Despite that series of successes, the lean N.C. native is taking nothing for granted with either the upcoming football season or the current recruiting campaign.

"I'm still never relaxed in it and I've got to make sure the letters keep coming in," he told Scout.com's Miller Safrit. "I am hearing from a number of schools that recognize me athletically and academically. East Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest, North Carolina, I'm liking them right now. I've picked up an offer, somewhat, from Tennessee. They said that if I keep up the stats and everything they will have a spot for me, but I know that I have to work for it because nothing is a guarantee."

As a junior Abrams-Ward saw service at three offensive positions as well as linebacker. He completed 29 of 47 passes for 596 yards and six touchdowns as a part-time passer. Although those figures aren't exactly staggering, it is a good completion percentage (61 percent) with an impressive 20-yard average per completion and better than 8-to-1 touchdown to pass attempt ratio. Moreover, those numbers were largely compiled during the playoffs.

"I'm more of a team player," he told Steve Williams of PackPride.com. "Wherever you need me and I can make an impact, that's where I'll play. As far as linebacker, it's just a few steps and hit who has the ball. With quarterback, you've got to have awareness, agility and everything just comes at once. So I would say as far as natural ability, I think I'm better at QB."

He reports offers from virtually every major program in the Carolinas and the contingency offer from Tennessee.

"Some of the main schools I'm looking at right now is Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, East Carolina, UNC and NC State," he said. "There's some other schools looking at me like Notre Dame and Boston College so I'm just trying to keep an open mind and see what comes my way."

There's a good chance a lot more offers and success will come Abrams-Ward's direction.


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