Kyle and I agree that one of the critical needs in this year's recruiting class is at the tailback position. While the Dawgs have already locked up a commitment from junior All-American tailback Richard Samuel, we shouldn't overlook the Dawgs' other pledge at that position for the class of 2008, Mt. Zion 's Martin Ward, seen here on video from the Rivals network.
Ward is ranked the #11 prospect regardless of position in the state of Georgia by UGASports.com. As a junior in 2006 Ward amassed 1379 yards on 142 carries (9.2 yards per carry) in only 9 games, scoring 15 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Pro: Ward has great vision, channeling Barry Sanders as he rips through holes. He also moves he feet well in traffic, and doesn't go down to arm tackles. Ward also runs with good body lean, so that tacklers bounce off of him rather than getting a clean shot. The thing that I find most impressive is that he doesn't dance around in the hole, he keeps his feet moving until he finds a crease, then gets through it in a hurry.
Con: Ward seems to have good speed. However, he doesn't have the type of next gear/track speed that makes him a threat to take it to the house on every play. Of course, neither did Emmitt Smith, and he turned out OK I guess.
This is Martin Ward, Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University in the United Kingdom, and an expert in software program transformation systems. You'll be pleased to know he's not a potential 2008 recruit. I did hear however that Ed Orgeron has serious interest in the cat.
Upshot: I have the utmost confidence that Ward will be a good back at the college level. I'm not sure yet that he's going to be a great back. I think the coaches see in him a versatile tailback with better than average speed and a tough, aggressive running style. I'm also told that he has excellent hands and good blocking skills, though of course I can't verify that from these video clips. While Richard Samuel is the star tailback in this class, I think Martin Ward is the type of guy who with a good work ethic and some breaks could do really well in the SEC. Only time will tell.