Two In The Lead For Chris Ward

A pair of in-state programs are in the driver's seat for Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei offensive lineman Chris Ward, ranked as the #3 offensive guard by Ward talks about his summer and his leaders...

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei offensive lineman Chris Ward (6-5, 300), has been enjoying his summer, as he prepares to lead the new-look Monarchs into the 2009 season.

"I've been laying low for a while, so I haven't really had much contact with the coaches, a lot of them are on vacation," said Ward. "Cal and UCLA are who I've been keeping the most contact with."

And the Bruins and Bears are in the lead for Ward's services.

"They are still pretty much my top two," said Ward. "I'm going to take a trip up to Cal unofficially in August and I'm going to take an unofficial trip to UCLA in August too."

UCLA and Cal are two of Ward's eight offers, with additional offers from Arizona, Washington, Washington State, Stanford, Colorado and San Diego State. And Ward said that USC told him they'd be watching his first few games before determining if they'll extend an offer.

Still, the Bears and Bruins are sitting favorably.

"Both have been talking to me as a tackle, which I don't have a preference for tackle or guard," said Ward. "I'll play anything to get me on the field. At Cal, Coach (Tosh) Lupoi is recruiting me, and I talk with him the most but I talk via e-mail and call Coach (Steve) Marshall (Cal's offensive line coach) once in a while. The same thing with UCLA, I have a really good relationship with the coaches and talk to all of them, but I talk with Coach (Bob) Palcic mostly."

Initially, Ward had hoped to make an early decision, but now he's uncertain of his timetable.

"I'm just going to wait until I'm 100% sure, until I'm ready to make my decision," said Ward. "I'm not going to rush it just so I could make a decision before the season. And I'm not really sure right now if I'll wait and take all of my official trips. But I do want to make sure my decision is a good one."

Ward didn't attend any camps or combines during the spring, instead focusing on the Monarch's upcoming season, which will feature, for the first time since 2004, a different quarterback than Matt Barkley.

"With Matt, we had been mostly pass and very little run but I think this year, we're going to even it out a little more and pack teams out with our passing game but key on our running game. We'll see how we do. We have two really good upcoming juniors, Max Wittek and Jack Dahl and they have both been looking pretty good in passing league. We'll play the same scheduled again, we open with Carson. After this week, we get two weeks off, and then four weeks from now is when we start fall practice," said Ward.

Academically, Ward is carrying a 3.0 GPA and scored a 1650 on the SAT.

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