James Ward talks decision
"Wake Forest is a great school and I felt like it presented me with an excellent opportunity and a nice spot to be for the next four years of my life," said James Ward. "My mother and I talked it over and after a lot of thought, I called Coach [Tom] Elrod first to tell him Wake Forest was where I wanted to be."
Ward said he spoke with the head coach, Jim Grobe, and the defensive backs coach, Steve Russ, to give them the news. Ward has been to Winston-Salem, but has yet to take an official visit to campus.
"I'm planning on going back for my official visit when school is back in session the weekend of January 14th-16th or the 22nd-24th," Ward said. "I've been up there a few times. When I went to a game at N.C. State I also went to Wake Forest. The campus is very nice. It's laid out very similar to Stetson, which is here in DeLand. It felt like a place I'd fit in."
A three-year starter in the secondary for the DeLand Bulldogs, Ward put together a notable senior season with 23 tackles, 11 pass break-ups, four interceptions (one a 49-yard pick six), and a fumble recovery.
"I felt like I had a great season," Ward said. "I shut down my side of the field. I got better in man coverage and attacking the receiver. The key was playing the game faster by getting off my breaks and making plays on the ball while it was up for grabs."
Ward chose Wake Forest with other offers coming from Marshall, Maryland, and Middle Tennessee. Although he didn't know at the time he would become a Demon Deacon he said he had a chance to see his future team play several times throughout the season and was pleased with what he saw.
"They had a pretty solid season," Ward said. "I like the way they do things on both sides of the ball. It's exciting and it looks like the players are enjoying themselves and having a good time in the system they have in place. I can't wait to be a part of it."
Ward said he plans to stay busy this winter and spring with athletics. DeLand soccer coach, Christopher Dowdell, talked Ward into joining the team for his senior season to help with his footwork and quickness. He also intends to run track.
Ward played in the central Florida All-Star game Thursday, December 15th for the East squad at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
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