May 6, 2011

Ward nominated for Army Bowl

ABERDEEN, Miss. - With nearly the entire Southeastern Conference after him already, Aberdeen tackle/defensive end Channing Ward added an accolade to his ever-growing resume Thursday.

Ward, a 6-foot-4, 248-pounder who has offers from every SEC school outside of South Carolina and Vanderbilt, has been nominated to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Staff Sergeant Calvin L. Dailey made the official announcement at a press conference at Aberdeen High Thursday afternoon.

"It's a high honor," Ward said. "Not too many around here can say they got nominated. It's a great accomplishment for me, my family and the city."

Ward had to go through an application process to be considered for the nomination. The prestigious showcase televised on NBC each January nominates 400 players across the nation before 90 are selected throughout the 2011 football season.

This year's game is scheduled for 1 p.m., live on NBC from San Antonio's Alamodome.

Current Rebels Nicholas Brassell of South Panola, Philadelphia's C.J. Johnson and Madison Central's Tobias Singleton represented Mississippi in last year's game.

Transfer quarterback Barry Brunetti participated in the 2010 game.

"It means a lot to me to be in that group of people," Ward said. "Playing in this game would mean a lot to me, a big accomplishment that when you were little you dreamed to go to."

If selected, Ward may have an even more familiar face on the field. Aberdeen head coach Chris Duncan has received a coaching nomination as well.

Duncan will also find out sometime this fall if he is selected for the coaching staff.

"On behalf of the U.S. Army, I just want to congratulate Coach Duncan and Mr. Channing Ward for the nomination," Dailey said. "It's a real honor."
Ole Miss is one offer on a list Ward said now stands at 17, a list that includes Notre Dame, Texas and Florida State. It's a tall task for even Ward to name all his suitors.

He likes what he sees at Ole Miss, the only school on his list with family ties. Brother Taurus joined the team as a redshirt junior defensive tackle last season after two seasons at Itawamba.

"Ole Miss has got a great campus," Channing Ward said. "They've got a good stadium they say they're probably building onto in the next few years, then my brother goes there and there's nothing better than that."

There are aspects of the recruiting process he likes but some he admits to not being so fond of.

"The fun part is you get to go different places and see different schools," he said. "(One bad part) is when you have free time, sometimes recruiters get your number that you didn't know you gave it to.

"It's a good feeling at times but then when you want a little freedom, you turn around and somebody asks you where you're going to school and all that."

That's what happens though when a player Ward's size is clocked anywhere from a 4.43 to a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash at college camps.

He even participated in a linebacker camp at Samford earlier this month because linemen weren't invited. His versatility again impressed. At Aberdeen, he has lined up at safety, as well as tight end where he scored six touchdowns.

Ward has made a habit of letting people know he's not that concerned about selecting his school of choice just yet, or even narrowing it down for that matter. After consecutive losses in the MHSAA Class 3A state championship, Ward is focused solely on getting back and winning a title in his final try.

"That's the main thing I'm focused on. It's too early to be narrowing it down," he says. "(Winning a state championship is) real important. You don't want to go down there and lose for the third time. That would be even worse than losing twice. I think we've got it this time. Everybody is hungry. Everybody wants it."

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