In the span of three days, Washington State’s quarterback room has experienced both loss and gain.
The NCAA’s transfer portal gives and takes. It snatched away one standout WSU QB, then quickly supplied the Cougs with a replacement.
WSU signed a talented gunslinger out of the portal on Monday, adding Cameron Ward. On Friday, dynamic signal-caller Jayden de Laura announced his intentions to depart Pullman.
With de Laura committing to Arizona on Monday evening, the Cougars’ starting job seems to be Ward’s to lose.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Ward is a four-star prospect and a top-five transfer QB of this recruiting cycle, per 247Sports.com.
He excelled at the FCS level over the past two years at Incarnate Word in San Antonio, earning All-American honors this season after throwing for 4,648 yards on a 65% completion rate (384 of 590) and topping the classification with 47 touchdown passes – against 10 interceptions.
His coach at UIW, Eric Morris, was hired last month to serve as WSU’s offensive coordinator.
Ward chose the Cougars over offers from Ole Miss, Houston and West Virginia, among others. He told 247Sports.com that his relationship with Morris played a major part in his decision.
Ward and Morris lifted UIW’s program to a 10-3 record and Southland Conference title this season. The Cardinals fell narrowly to defending champion Sam Houston State in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
UIW’s offense was among the most productive in the FCS. Ward flourished in Morris’ modified version of the Air Raid offense and finished the year ranked in the top 10 nationally in every statistical passing category.
Morris will install that system at WSU. Ward, who has three years of eligibility remaining, expects it to be a smooth transition.
“I walk into a great situation where I already know the offense,” he told 247Sports.com.
“As soon as I set foot on campus, I’m excited to meet the coaching staff a bit more, meet my teammates and explain the offense to them in the film room and on the board,” he continued. “Just trying to put the team in a successful spot for next season.”
Ward recently narrowed down his possible landing spots to WSU and Ole Miss, according to 247Sports.com. While de Laura’s choice to transfer wasn’t the deciding factor in Ward selecting the Cougs, it did give “Washington State a little bit of an edge,” he said. De Laura pledged to Arizona about two hours after Ward signed with WSU. The two could square off Nov. 19, when WSU visits Arizona.
Ward reportedly will arrive in Pullman within the next week and enroll in classes for spring semester. He’ll participate in spring camp.
A native of West Columbia, Texas – just south of Houston – Ward was underrecruited coming out of high school. He operated a run-heavy Wing-T offense and didn’t throw the ball much during his prep years.
Ward was an unranked prospect, per 247Sports.com, and his only offer came from Morris and Incarnate Word.
Boasting a powerful arm and quick release – and understated athleticism – Ward broke out as a true freshman in the 2021 FCS spring season, earning the classification’s freshman of the year award after setting multiple UIW passing records in only six games. Ward amassed 2,260 passing yards and 24 touchdowns against just four picks.
For his encore, Ward raked in second-team All-American honors and took home the Southland’s offensive player of the year nod. He was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award – essentially the Heisman of the FCS.
Ward entered his name into the transfer portal shortly after Morris accepted the OC job at WSU, then revealed that he’d been offered a spot by the Pullman school within an hour of the final whistle of the Cougars’ 24-21 loss to Central Michigan at the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.
The Cougars’ have two scholarship quarterbacks on their roster in Ward and freshman Xavier Ward. Walk-on sophomore Victor Gabalis played well in the second half against CMU.
Junior Cammon Cooper transferred out of WSU last month. He announced his commitment to Hawaii on Monday .