Towering OT Brady Ward Weighing Options Post ESP
John Garcia, Jr.
As Brady Ward and his immediate family spend time in rural Mississippi for the holidays he may have the chance to avoid the question that has headed his way for years.
'Where are you going to school?'
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's offensive line prospect still hasn't come to that choice but for good reason. Plenty has changed since the All-American Bowl selection began compiling scholarship offers as an underclassman. Much has changed even since his senior season wrapped up in November.
Two of the programs long high on his list, Ole Miss and Arkansas, are under new coaching leadership. In-state Alabama and Auburn have fluctuating needs along the offensive line while another SEC West program, Texas A&M, represents the newest offer on the list.
It's just the beginning of the scenarios that have made the recruiting process that much more complicated for the ASWA Second Team All-State selection and many prospects still on the board.
"I was really trying to enjoy my senior year of football and enjoy my senior season right," Ward told SI All-American. "We finished in the second round. I was dealing with coaches from time to time but once the season ended I got back to recruiting.
"A lot of those coaches had either been moved or are fired so I'm having to start over, really."
The reset means the new offer from Jimbo Fisher and company comes timely. Ward has been to most of the campuses in the region and A&M will soon be added to the list.
"I'm going to be taking an official visit to Texas A&M at some point," he said. "I'm going to take trips to other schools, I'm not sure where yet.
"I hear their campus is really nice and their facilities are really nice. It's a really good school and I want to take a look at what they have in store with their program and coaching. Also how their offense works and all of that stuff."
The loaded SEC West has been where many once foretasted Ward to play considering early offers from Ole Miss and Arkansas in addition to the program his father played at in LSU. But it's the Aggies who may be in the game the latest with Ward.
"They're a young team with most of the starters returning next year," he said. "They're going to be really really good next year because they will have more experience."
Arkansas is the sole official visit under the senior's belt to this point.
"I'm trying to get close to the new coaching staffs around," he said. "I'm going to talk to Coach (Sam) Pittman soon at Arkansas. I've talked to Auburn a bit, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, South Alabama...
"I'm just waiting to see if they [Auburn] are going to offer me or not."
22 programs have already offered Ward, who says the final month or so of recruiting trips will largely determine where he ends up.
"It's just seeing which place is most comfortable for me, which place I fit best," he said. "Even though the coaching staff may not be there when I'm there. But I don't want to go to a school where the position coach isn't interested in me.
"I just want to make sure I'm going to the right place for me. I don't want to commit to a school and then de-commit."
Focused on improving his game in the meantime, Ward is hard at work. In addition to the All-American Bowl where he will compete against several of the nation's top defensive linemen, he is working out five days a week back in Mobile. Some of the prep work has been alongside area legend and former NFL offensive lineman Willie Anderson.
Ward has no official timetable for a verbal commitment.
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