Updated: Jan 13
By Adam Aniba
This year's quarterback class features a wide array of talent, but a few non 1st round prospects, have the potential to be franchise signal callers. Washington State QB Cameron Ward is a junior that's gone under the radar and is a prospect to keep an eye on during the draft evaluation process.
6'2" 220 lbs | QB | Wash St.
Late 3rd-4th Rd Grade
Career UIW/WA St (32 games) 887/1390 10,140 yds for 94 TDs & 23 ints (Rushing) 125 yds 8 TDs
2022 (13 games) 320/497 3,232 yards for 23 TDs & 9 ints
(Rushing) 58 yds 5 TDs
Ward grew up in a West Columbia, TX and was the star quarterback for Columbia High School from '18-'19. In addition, he was also a standout guard on the basketball team and was a Two-Time All-District Offensive MVP.
Ward had back-to-back 1,000+ yard passing seasons and with at least 7 TDs in each of those seasons, adding another 4 rushing TDs in his final season. The heavy runbase offense scheme (Wing-T offense), limited what Ward could do as a passer, but nonetheless helped his team to become '19 Co-District Champions.
During his senior season, Ward earned 1st-Team All-District in football, All-Southern Brazoia County First-Team QB, Honorable Mention for the highly coveted All-State Texas Team and Honorable Mention All-State Academically.
Ward was unranked nationally and garnered little attention during the recruiting process, but received interest from University of Incarnate Word. UIW was the lone football program to offer Ward a scholarship. The Columbia HS signal caller committed to the program for the '20 season with the goal of displaying his arm talent.
Although his first season at UIW was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, he registered 2,260 yards for 24 touchdowns and 4 ints in addition to 2 rushing TDs in only six games as a true freshman. His performance earned him the Jerry Rice Award for the top freshman in the FCS.
The following season, Ward started in all 13 games finishing with a 10-3 record, which was a program best. He threw for 4,648 yards for 47 TDs with 10 interceptions (11 games over 300+ yards passing) and 1 rushing touchdown. He also finished as a finalist for the Walter Payton Award (most outstanding offensive player in FCS Football).
After a stellar season, Ward decided to transfer to Washington State for the '22 season with his head coach leaving the program, but his offensive coordinator followed him to the Washington State. Ward left UIW as the programs record holder with 6,908 passing yards and 71 TDs.
Ward threw for 3,231 passing yards with 23 TDs and 9 interceptions in his first year at Washington St. Having his UWI OC Eric Morris and the familiarity of the Air Raid passing attack, dramatically helped with his transition to the Pac-12.
Ward still hasn't announced his intention to declare for the NFL Draft with some believing he'll return to Washington State. On the other hand, Ward just lost his OC Eric Morris, who came with him from Incarnate Word and recently accepted an offer to be the head coach at North Texas.
Now the Cougars signal caller will likely have to learn a new system, which could influence his decision. The announcement from Morris, came only a few weeks ago and per 247 Sports, it came as a shock to Ward.
"It was really just shocking to me, I wasn't expecting him to make a decision like that. But I can't be mad at him, he's making a life-changing decision for his family, his sons. They're a big reason why I'm here at Washington State. But without that I wouldn't be here so I'm forever grateful to him. For me, it's not about being angry because life's too short at this point to be mad at someone".
The ambidextrous QB excels at throwing the ball from multiple arm angles, especially when going off script
Strong arm with velocity, but also excels on touch passes at the short/intermediate level
Although not a burner, displays the speed/elusiveness to avoid pressure when the pocket collapses, while creating time for his receivers to gain separation with his legs
Displays a quick release with anticipation
Although Ward is viewed as a dual-threat, make no mistake, he scrambles to create passing yards and not rushing yards
Only 1 season playing on the FCS level with only 32 career total games played is a concern
Overall mechanics/technique require refinement (stepping into throws/adjusting lower base)
Pre-snap play recognition needs work, notably making adjustments/blitz pickup
Offensive concepts limited him from reading the entire field at times
Although displays a strong arm, cases of accuracy issues on downfield throws popped up on film from time to time
Although some view the Cougars Air Raid offense as a system that doesn't translate to the NFL, Wards growth as an overall passer is indisputable. The Cougars signal caller has been durable, never missing a snap during his collegiate career due to injury.
Similar to Patrick Mahomes, Ward has demonstrated the ability to throw the ball from unorthodox angles and both played in the Air Raid system.
Being ambidextrous is a plus and Ward demonstrated this vs Cal (10/27/22), when the QB threw an absolute dart with his left hand under pressure, despite throwing predominantly with his right hand.
The team that selects Ward on Day 2-3 of the draft will have to be patient, but he's just scratching the surface of his ability and is a viable candidate to be a future franchise quarterback on the next level.
*Games Watched- 9/17/22 vs Col St., 9/24 vs Oregon, 10/1 vs Cal, 10/27 vs Utah, 11/5 vs Stanford, 11/12 vs Arizona St., 11/26 vs Wash & 12/17 vs Fres St, (LA Bowl)
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