Land of 10 has embarked on a series of “Next Generation” stories, a project that aims to bring readers insight into the class of 2017 signees. On Wednesday, Nebraska reporter Chris Heady spent some time with 3-star LB Andrew Ward to give you a sneak peek of what you can expect with his full profile in the coming days.
MUSKEGON, Mich. — On Christmas Day, Andrew Ward sat in the living room of a friend’s home and typed out the message on his iPhone 4.
“First and foremost, I want to thank God,” it began.
Just across town, Ward’s mother, Trina Piggee, knew an announcement was coming but didn’t know what school it’d be.
She secretly hoped it’d be Nebraska. She liked coach Mike Riley and loved that visit in September to Lincoln. But she still wasn’t sure.
With his two daughters and extended family, Muskegon Head Coach Shane Fairfield also wasn’t sure where Ward would commit. If he had to guess the school that day, he probably would’ve gone with Indiana.
But the thing people wondered most was why, of all days, Ward was announcing on Christmas.
The truth is, no one was sure what Ward was typing, not sure what the exact words would be when the first Ward in the family to attend college would announce which he college it would be.
There’s a certain weight that title carries — the first person in the family to go to college. Add to that the first one in the family to get a Division I athletics scholarship. Ward felt the importance of his decision, knew the impact it’d have on not only the coaches at different schools but his family. That’s mostly why, after every single one of his 9 offers, Ward cried on the phone while coaches told him they wanted to pay for his college.
And the weight of the decision, that’s why Christmas seemed like the perfect time to unwrap the news to the ones he cared for.
Because in a way, Ward said, he felt like there wasn’t anything he could give away that day that would mean more.
“I felt like I should give everybody a gift,” Ward said. “For my family, especially. For everyone.”
“Honored To Say I Will Be Committing To The University Of Nebraska,” the linebacker’s tweet read. “#GBR #BlackShirts #MerryChristmas.”
We’ll have more on Ward’s life story for the Next Generation series in the coming days.