Ward takes on starting Safety role

Published: Aug. 27, 2014 at 12:20 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - When the 2014 Red Raider Football depth chart was released Sophomore Keenon Ward found himself at the top of the Free Safety position.

Ward played his High School career just down the road in Snyder, Texas, where he was a prolific quarterback, but made the tradition to wide receiver upon joining the Texas Tech team.

With injuries on the defensive side in 2013 and depth at receiver, Ward moved to defense to see more playing time. His athleticism stood out to the coaches in his three starts at safety and action in all 13 contests, including a great performance in the Holiday Bowl in which he tallied four solo tackles and a pass break up in a win over the Sun Devils.

After improving his game greatly on the defensive side Defensive Coordinator, Matt Wallerstedt knows Ward is ready to lead this group of Defensive Backs:

"Coming out of the bowl game and having a lot of success, not just as a defensive unit, but him personally having a really good bowl game, I think that gave him a really good confidence boost to come attack this year," Wallerstedt said.

"He's done a great job back there. Smart kid, fast kid; he can run and he's really become more of a physical player than he's ever been since he's been here."

With 29 solo tackles in 2013 along with an interception and a forced fumble, Ward has made plays for this defense and knows what it takes to lead and besuccessfull on the back end of a defense.

"I just have to come out every day and just lead," Ward said. "I'm looked at now as an experienced returner, so coming in as a starter - it just makes me more motivated to be a leader."

Ward is only a sophomore, but with his playing experience from a year ago, he will be looked upon as key player in a defensive secondary that will be filled with underclassmen playing integral roles in 2014.

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