Heaps: Why WSU has a ‘huge get’ in transfer QB Cameron Ward
The hearts of WSU fans may have sunk Monday night when news came across that quarterback Jayden de Laura had decided to head south to another Pac-12 program, Arizona. But another piece of news from earlier in the day probably kept it from feeling like too much of a blow.
That’s because the Cougars had already secured another highly sought-after transfer QB, Cameron Ward.
Ward has a few ties of interest to those in Washington state. The most obvious is that he is following his head coach from the University of Incarnate Word – new WSU offensive coordinator Eric Morris – to Pullman. The second is that he is a relative of Seahawks Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs.
Coug Nation, welcome 𝘊𝘢𝘮 𝘞𝘢𝘳𝘥 (@Cameron7Ward) to the family!
— Washington State Football (@WSUCougarFB) January 11, 2022
Ward, who will be a junior in 2022, was a standout for Incarnate Word in 2021, winning Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year, making the FCS All-American second team, and being named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football. He also won the Jerry Rice Award in 2020 for being the most outstanding freshman in the FCS.
The native of West Columbia, Texas makes the move from Incarnate Word’s San Antonio campus to Wazzu after completing 384 of 590 passes for a 65.1% percentage with 4,648 yards, 47 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 13 games last season. He set school single-game records in passing yards (610) and passing touchdowns (seven), as well as career records in passing TDs (71) and yards (6,908) – in just two seasons.
.@UIWFootball QB Cameron Ward broke onto the scene and made a name for himself in his rookie year with the Cardinals! Let’s see him dissect some of his favorite plays in our @CanonUSA Film Room at our SLC Football Media Days last month!#TheWord #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/dPI4dvFhjd
— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) August 26, 2021
So will Ward be able to make the jump to the FBS level and shine for head coach Jake Dickert and the Cougs as the replacement for de Laura, who led WSU to its first Apple Cup win since 2012 in November? Jake Heaps, a former NFL and NCAA quarterback, shared his thoughts on Ward and how he fits with WSU’s system during Tuesday’s edition of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.
“Well, Cameron Ward is exceptionally talented,” Heaps told his co-host, Stacy Rost. “When you talk about this young man, he brings everything to the table. … Yes, there’s the immediate connection with your offensive coordinator now who was his head coach, but I mean Cameron Ward was being recruited by Houston, by Ole Miss. We’re talking two SEC, Big 12 powerhouses that really, really wanted him. So he chooses the Cougs, and that’s a huge get.”
Heaps sees a dual-threat QB with a future of playing on Sundays in the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Ward.
“This is a player that size, skill-talent wise has the ability to be a next level player and I think be one of the featured quarterbacks in the NFL Draft,” he said. “(The Cougars) have an Air Raid approach to their scheme, but Cameron Ward is a guy who excels in the RPO (run-pass option) game, as well. Very quick release, good decision maker, and brings the athleticism that’s going to be fun and dynamic for this Washington State Cougar football team.”
Coming off a 7-6 season, second-place finish in the Pac-12 North and appearance in the Sun Bowl, the Cougars look to be in great shape to keep improving in 2022 with the addition of Ward, according to Heaps.
“I think Cougs fans should be thrilled, should be excited about what he can bring to this offense. And I really believe that Jake Dickert in year one, hiring Eric Morris as the offensive coordinator, getting Cameron Ward, this group can really, really be dynamic and make a lot of waves when it comes to Pac-12 play next season.”
You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts in the Headline Rewrites segment of Tuesday’s Jake and Stacy, starting about 17 minutes into the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Further reading: Jake Heaps reacts to new OC hires for WSU and UW