There’s a lot Denzel Ward can take from his time at Virginia Tech. However, the former Northeastern football standout couldn’t look past an important factor: finances.
He was an invited walk-on for the 2011 season, but redshirted for the Hokies while holding out for a scholarship offer the following season. It wasn’t possible, so Ward has left Blacksburg and will now look to transfer elsewhere.
“It was a better decision for the family,” said Ward, who was a two-way starter for the Eagles’ 2010 2AA state finalist team. “I had a great experience while I was there, and I had my hopes up for a scholarship in the spring, but things didn’t turn out the right way, so I had to leave.
“Things didn’t go my way, but it was a great experience. I learned a lot and got bigger, stronger and faster.”
Ward, a middle linebacker, added 30 pounds to his frame while in Blacksburg, Va., and said the time with the Division I power will help him at his next school. He has been invited to visit both Appalachian State and Old Dominion.
One of his biggest supporters was Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Ward took a lot from him and was surprised how much he helped considering his walk-on status.
“I was in his meeting room every day talking to him, and he was telling me what I need to do to get better,” Ward said. “Bud Foster is a great man.”
For now Ward is taking online classes at College of The Albemarle and working the clock at Eagles home football games. He will enroll at his next school in the spring and work towards getting ready for the 2013 season.
“I’m spending time with my family before I leave,” Ward said. “They are fine with wherever I go as long as the scholarship money is there.”
Checking in with other football players:
Marquise Grizzle (Currituck): Last season’s area Player of the Year, Grizzle originally signed with Murray State but transferred to Shaw when he was not academically eligible to accept a Division I scholarship. At Division II Shaw, he is the leading rusher with 251 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries. Grizzle has also caught 10 passes for 88 yards.
Will Sawyer (Pasquotank): The offensive lineman spent his first year at Campbell as a redshirt, but is now getting playing time for the Fighting Camels.
Timaine Moore (Edenton): Moore is now a senior wide receiver at North Carolina Wesleyan. He has 11 catches for 93 yards.
Dustin Midgett (Currituck): A three-year starter at quarterback for Currituck, Midgett is on the roster at North Carolina Wesleyan but has not played yet.
Jake Thornton (Northeastern): Thornton is in his senior year at Chowan as an offensive lineman
Taylor Cannon (Camden): Cannon was a strong player for the Charlotte 49ers as a sophomore, and she is primed to do the same again as a junior. In 14 games, the former Camden standout and Dean’s List student has four kills as a middle blocker.
Francie Jenkins (Northeastern): A former two-time area Player of the Year, the sophomore hitter has played in nine sets for Princeton. She has seven kills and two blocks.
Lindsey Jones (Pasquotank): Jones is in her second year for High Point volleyball. The former co-Northeastern Coastal Conference Player of the Year, Jones has seen occasional time on the floor for the Lady Panthers.
Katie Copeland (Perquimans); The all-conference selection in volleyball and softball will do both for Guilford College this year. As a freshman setter on the volleyball team, Copeland has played in four matches seven sets and five digs for the Lady Quakers.
Kiel Bollero (Currituck): The former two-time Cross Country Runner of the Year is running well as a sophomore for Mars Hill, which is ranked third among Southeast Region Division II teams. Bollero was 45th out of 205 runners at the Spartanburg Eye Opener and 16th out of 69 runners at the Lenoir Rhyne Invitational.
Morgan Klein (Northeastern): Klein came to Chowan from East Carolina, and has started five games in the midfield for the Lady Hawks.
Greg Farr (Currituck): Last fall’s Player of the Year is a member of the Louisburg College team that is off to a 7-0 start. He had two goals against Wake Tech and two assists against Patrick Henry Community College.
Dylan Cross (Northeastern): Cross, who did not play at NHS as a senior, instead focusing on his club team in Virginia Beach,Va., has played in four games — starting two — for the Cape Fear Community College Sea Devils as a freshman.
Sports Editor Chic Riebel contributed to this report