When it comes to college football players, there aren’t many better players that you can be compared to than Earl Campbell. The Tyler, Texas native earned the nickname “The Tyler Rose” during his time at Texas after winning a Heisman Trophy and picking up unanimous All-America honors in his senior season back in 1977. In 2012, the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce announced the creation of the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award to honor the Pro Football Hall of Famer. On Tuesday, the Campbell Award committee announced their preseason watch list, and Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward was part of that prestigious group.
Ward, who has yet to take a snap at the FBS level, is one of 63 players on the award watch list. According to Washington State’s official release, only players with strong ties to the state of Texas are eligible for the honor. A player must be born in Texas, have graduated from a Texas high school and/or play for a Texas-based university. In the end, the award is given to the player that displays the “characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically, tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.”
Of course, Ward has been one of the stories of the offseason for the Cougars. The West Columbia, Texas native followed his former head coach, now offensive coordinator, Eric Morris from FCS Incarnate Ward (based in San Antonio, Texas) to Pullman where he has all but officially won the starting quarterback job. During his freshman year at UIW, Ward won the Jerry Rice Award for best freshman at the FCS level after totaling 2,260 yards and 24 touchdowns in just six games. He followed that up in 2021 with 4,648 passing yards and 47 passing touchdowns.
So far during his WSU career, Ward has only hit the field during spring camp and half-a-dozen fall camp practices, but he’s already impressing his new coaches and teammates.
“Cam’s gonna be real good,” said veteran receiver Renard Bell after a practice last week. “Cam’s gonna be real nice. He has an arm. He can make Patrick Mahomes throws and stuff like that. … Once he gets used to (Pac-12 speed), it’s a wrap from there.”
Ward has the ability to do some special things and win some big awards this season. We’ll have to wait and see how much of that will translate during the season. Ward and the Cougs kick things off September 3 at home against Idaho.
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