Friday, July 16, 2010

Pack punter Ward won't return

Chris Ward, who at one time had been projected to start at punter for N.C. State in 2010, is not on the team's roster for the fall, school sports information director Annabelle Myers said Friday.

Coach Tom O'Brien suspended Ward indefinitely in March for unspecified reasons, saying at the time that Ward was still in class and might be able to return to the team. That's no longer the case.

"He will not be back," Myers said.

Jeff Ruiz, the 2009 starting punter who had decided to leave school to be closer to home, has returned to the team and is expected to start in 2010. Ruiz, who will be a senior, averaged 37.9 yards per punt last season.

Ward, who is from Fayetteville, Ga., redshirted last season as a freshman. He gained notoriety as a high school athlete when he won the best punter award with an average punt of 42.7 yards and a hang time of 4.17 seconds at the prestigious Southern Kicking Invitational.

Losing Ward, who had the potential to be a four-year starter, left N.C. State without a scholarship punter after Ruiz exhausts his eligibility this fall. But the Wolfpack punter of the future now appears to be Wil Baumann of Hoggard High in Wilmington, who committed to N.C. State earlier this week.

Baumann averaged 44 yards as a junior last season and comes from a high school program that has churned out talented specialists such as current North Carolina kicker Casey Barth and former Tar Heel Connor Barth, who kicks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hoggard coach Scott Braswell said Baumann, who's 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds, has a similar build to Connor Barth's and a lot of potential.

"I think he could be an NFL guy some day," Braswell said.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

This team must suck. Two days worth of punter news. Tommorow we will probably read where Ruiz is on the Ray Guy watch list

Anonymous said...

At least we are not under investigation by NCAA

Ken said...

The reason NC State is not under investigation is bc they have no NFL prospects on their roster!!!