Da’Leon Ward is the eighth best player on our top-15 countdown. Ward redshirted last year after having a true freshman campaign in which he made starts in 4 of the last five games and led all running backs in rushing in 2016. After taking a year off this past season, Ward will be looking to be the main ball carrier on this team, sharing carries with the no. 10 player on our countdown, Tre King.
Ward finished 2016 with 428 yards and 3 touchdowns. This may not seem like a ton, but remember this was only in 4 starts on the year. This was also during a time where the majority of the offense was centered around quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the arsenal of great receivers. After being redshirted last season due to academic issues, Ward should be ready to take on a more featured role, as there will be a new quarterback and a ton of new receivers. This should allow Ward to blossom with the experienced offensive line that will be in place throughout the season.
This could be a breakout year for the sophomore running back, as there will be more competition at running back as the season progresses as Tre King, Demarcus Felton, and true freshman Ta’Zhawn Henry will be fighting for carries as the season goes along. Who wins out? Only the season will give us a definite answer but with Ward’s ability to be an all-purpose back, not only as a rushing threat but a receiving threat out of the backfield. He just might be the front-runner to become this team’s feature back.
Ward was arrested earlier in the week for theft charges. All charges have been dropped and his named has been cleared. He is back with the team and will go into this season on the active roster.
How many rushing yards do the Red Raiders accumulate this season? Let us know in the comment section below!