REIDSVILLE, N.C.- Rockingham County High offensive tackle prospect Justin Ward holds an early scholarship offer from an Atlantic Coast Conference program and is getting plenty of interest from a number of other regional schools.
The 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman has been getting attention from Duke as a defensive tackle and held an offer from former North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato's staff. Ward projects as an offensive lineman in college, but it's not out of the question that he could play three technique defensive tackle.
"It's probably the most exciting time during my time in high school," Ward said. "The biggest letters I have gotten have been from Notre Dame, Penn State and Auburn. From the local areas, I have received Clemson, East Carolina, North Carolina, Duke and South Carolina."
Ward has followed the Tar Heels for most of his life.
"I have always been a fan of North Carolina," he said. "But they haven't really been as interested. Clemson really catches my eye along with North Carolina State. Duke is a real prestigious school. Notre Dame and Penn State wow me. The opportunity and tradition there is just amazing. It would be a tremendous opportunity for anybody to play there.'
Ward plans to make several unofficial visits in the near future and will participate in some camps/combines, starting with the NIKE Combine scheduled for Sunday at Wingate University near Charlotte, N.C.
"I have been invited to some junior days and plan on seeing some spring games," he said. "I am really interested in going to North Carolina State and Auburn and watching their spring games. I always enjoy watching Duke and I am going to watch the spring game there and hopefully North Carolina will invite me so I can get a look at them. I hope to go to South Carolina for the Junior Day there and check out the campus."
Ward is focused on one factor with regards to the school he picks.
"The most important thing is the education you get at the college," he said. "The odds of playing pro is not that great so the first thing you look at is the education and the degree you can get and what you can do with it after that."
Ward has not decided on a college major. He said sports management is possible, but he "also has always thought about being a lawyer."
Ward also plays basketball for Rockingham County High. That has helped his footwork and overall athleticism.
"I always loved basketball growing up," he said. " I didn't really get into football until seventh grade."