Houstonians know this man well. He was a bad, bad man who tore it up many-a-night at John O'Quinn Field.
But former University of Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. is no longer slinging rocks, and he isn't playing for the Texans.
The undrafted rookie wide receiver for the Phildelphia Eagles will try to make a squad now loaded at the pass-catcher position with NFL stars like Jordan Matthews, Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith. A tall task, Ward will also have to beat out other backups like Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs, Paul Turner, Mack Hollins and more.
But don't count this man out, especially after a magical NCAA career in which he passed for 8,704 yards, 52 TDs and 26 picks. Houston fans will remember how Ward Jr. stole the starting job in his sophomore year from John O'Korn.
The rest is history: in his junior year Ward led the underdog Cougars to a 13-1 season, ripping off three season-ending wins against three ranked opponents, including a thrashing of No. 9 Florida State.
Last year in his senior season Ward led wins against No. 3 Oklahoma, then against the Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and his No. 3 Louisville Cardinals.
Per Philly.com, while at Houston Ward knew the day would come for him, one of the top college quarterbacks in the country the past two years, to move to wide receiver.
“I had a pretty good clue,” Ward said.
In his last two years of college, Ward practiced full-time at quarterback, throwing for 6,385 yards and 39 touchdowns. After practice, he stayed and caught a few balls to stay sharp for his future position.
Now he will attempt to succeed at the transition that many have tried but few have mastered. Terrelle Pryor, the former Ohio State quarterback, became a starting wide receiver in the NFL. Keenan Reynolds, a triple-option maestro at Navy, has also moved outside with the Baltimore Ravens. Others like them will try receiver, cornerback, kick returner or anything that gets them on the field in the NFL.
But catching passes isn't foreign to Ward. He was a starting wideout at Houston who caught 25 passes before the team yanked O'Korn for him.
“I knew some of it,” Ward said, when he returned to the position with the Eagles. “It’s just getting back in the groove at receiver, just staying focused and working on it every single day like everything else.”
“He’s been pressuring me for the last week, like ‘Hey man, when are we going to get together on these releases?’” 28-year-old signee Torrey Smith said. “I’m like, ‘Bro, as soon as we have some time, I’m going to be there for you.’ He always wants to know what’s next and how it can be better.”