Denzel Ward was one of the top offensive line recruits at the recent Orlando Nike Football Training Camp (NFTC). Out of the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, the consensus three-star checked in at 6'7 and 307 pounds, and performed well during the event. And before the event, he named the Florida Gators as his top team.
"My leader is Florida," Ward said. "It's their coaching staff, how they've connected with me and how they have a passion in recruiting me."
Why does Ward like the Gators? Playing time is a large component.
"I see the depth chart for O-line is really going down in the next year or so, so I really have a good chance (for early playing time), especially with that six-lineman front they play there."
Ward is also close with a current Gator commitment.
"And I mix really well with the recruits they have now. Me and Will Grier (Florida QB commitment) are really good friends. And we both plan to graduate in December, so if I make that commitment, that'll probably be my roommate."
After, he discussed his experience at the NFTC.
"It was a unique experience to learn. I got out here and got better. I am much better now than I was at the Under Armour Combine," Ward said.
Part of that improvement came as a result of his training at the IMG Academy, which is about as close to a college program as a high school program can be.
"Two months ago I was 295. Now I am 307. I put on some great weight, and my 40-time went down. I was a 5.7 in January, and today I ran a 5.5," Ward said. "It got my mindset right. Every day is a work day, and you can't expect to have any copouts. I've been there and had stomach aches, and still had to go to the weight room at 6 a.m. Every day I am learning and it is just really preparing me for college. It's just a unique situation where they monitor everything we do."
Despite naming Florida his leader, Ward is receiving interest from many big programs, and he plans to visit them in the coming months.
"Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and I've been getting huge interest from UCLA, Texas A&M and Alabama lately, " Ward said. "I'm definitely trying to visit most of the schools on my list this summer. I'm trying to hit UF in the spring for sure. And I know by summer I am going to try to hit all the schools in the Midwest like Ohio State, Oklahoma, all those schools again."
Ward says that he plans to take all of his official visits before
For more on Florida Gators recruiting, visit Alligator Army.