February 23, 2008

Ward to transfer?

Backup tight end NaDerris Ward is seriously considering a transfer, a source within the Georgia athletic department confirmed to UGASports Saturday afternoon.

A 6-5 redshirt freshman, Ward's apparent decision stems from the Oakland, Calif. native's desire to be closer to home.

Several West Coast schools are being considered with the University of Oregon a likely destination.

Plagued by shoulder and hamstring in 2007, Ward appeared in only four games for the Bulldogs last fall. He did not catch a pass.

Ward could not immediately be reached for comment.

His spot on the depth chart is believed to also be a reason for Ward's decision. When spring drills begin March 3, rising senior Tripp Chandler will go in as a solid No. 1, followed by rising sophomore Bruce Figgins at No. 2. Redshirt freshman Aaron White has made continued improvement has the Missouri native in line to be Georgia's No. 3 tight end after bulking up from 215 pounds to approximately 235.

The Bulldogs also have true freshman Bryce Ros, who caught eight passes for 175 yards and one touchdown last year in high school.

Ward was tabbed the country's No. 2 tight end out of high school in 2006 by Rivals.com after a senior season which saw him catch 20 passes for 350 yards after a junior campaign when he snared 25 catches for 500 yards.

However, injuries hampered the 255-pounder from almost the first day he stepped on campus in Athens.

Ward redshirted in 2006 after undergoing shoulder surgery, and injury that was slowed his development heading into last fall. Hamstring issues also dogged the player, who played in the season-opener against Oklahoma State but in only three contests after that.

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