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Only Johnny Ward Days Until USF Football

Ward's play will go a long way in determining the success of the USF defense.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

#24 CB Johnny Ward
Junior, 6'0", 178 lbs.

Stats in 2014: Ward played in ten games at corner, starting in seven as he battled late-season injuries. He was one of the Bulls' most productive players in the secondary, totaling 36 tackles (one for a loss), and a pair of interceptions. His best game of his career to date was against East Carolina, where he had seven tackles and a pick.

Spot on Fall Depth Chart: Starting cornerback across from Deatrick Nichols, and holding off Lamar Robbins and Mazzi Wilkins.

How He Came to USF: For all his failures recruiting locally, Skip Holtz did a decent recruiting Georgia, a previously untapped area for the Bulls. Ward came from Colquitt County High School in the southwestern part of the state. He also had offers from UCF, Middle Tennessee, and South Alabama. His high school coach says he would have had more offers, but committed to USF early and stayed committed.

Recruiting Rankings: 247 gave Johnny a low three-star rating, Rivals was less enthusiastic, giving him two stars.

Projected Playing Time: Ward appears to be one of the few pencilled-in starters in the secondary. Save for Nate Godwin, he's probably been the most productive member of Willie Taggart's secondary-heavy first recruiting class, and his efforts have been rewarded with a spot as USF's top corner entering his senior season. The Bulls need-- and I mean need-- a couple of good cover guys who can play man-to-man effectively so that they can change up their pass rush and send some different sorts of blitz looks out of the 4-2-5. If Ward can be one of those guys, he'll be starting the whole season. If he isn't... well, the Bulls have plenty of options at defensive back, and the merry-go-round in the secondary might continue for another season.