RHS junior commits to Auburn Tigers
When Judd Ward attended a baseball camp at Auburn University last weekend, he and his family never dreamed that would be the moment he would commit to playing college ball.
“I just went down there to a camp that invited me to, and they offered me after that,” he said. “I jumped on it.”
Ward, a junior at Russellville High School, won’t sign until November per NCAA regulations, but he and his parents said he is strongly committed to the Tigers.
“He’s always dreamed of going there and playing baseball,” mother Tracy Ward said.
“He really loves the coaches … They’re going to give him a fair shot,” father David Ward said.
David Ward has actually coached against Auburn University Head Coach Butch Thompson as a baseball coach at Northwest-Shoals Community College. He also played baseball, and both of his sons have followed in his footsteps.
Judd Ward has played baseball ever since he can remember and likes everything about it.
“The hitting, the fielding, – I just like it all,” he said. “I just love the game.”
He also is a fan of Auburn’s campus.
“I love the dorms and the field, and I just love the campus,” he said. “One of my buddies is going down there, Cody Greenhill, so I’ll get to room with him.”
RHS Coach Chris Heaps said Ward is “one of the hardest-working kids I have ever coached.” He recalled that Ward had previously committed to Troy, but Heaps encouraged him to go a different direction. “I talked with Judd, and I said, ‘If you really want to play SEC baseball, I think you’re capable.’ He dreamed of playing in the SEC, and I’m super proud for him that he has that opportunity.”
Heaps said the Auburn coaches seem to be impressed with Ward. “His baseball IQ and his instinct on the baseball field are as good as any player I have ever coached. He’s very very talented.”
His parents said they are excited for him, although they were surprised he was offered a college spot so early.
“I’m just glad he’s getting to fulfill his dream,” Tracy said.
And David, who has always been a Crimson Tide fan, said, “I guess I can say War Eagle!”