Column: FSU’s Treshaun Ward Aims for a Season to Remember

Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

A 3-star high school prospect from Tampa, Treshaun Ward held scholarship offers from nearly 20 FBS schools. That included more than 10 Power 5 programs.

In 2019, he turned down all of them to walk on Florida State. Ward played in just two games in each of his first two seasons on campus in 2019 and 2020. With La’Damian Webb transferring to Troy and Lawrance Toafili injured for much of the 2021 season, Ward finally had the chance to shine.

A Breakout Campaign

Despite minimal opportunity early on, Ward played in all 12 games for FSU in 2021. The former walk-on did not disappoint.

In his third season in Tallahassee, Ward totaled 746 all-purpose yards. Most of that came on the ground as he rushed 81 times for 515 yards and four touchdowns. He caught 21 passes for 185 yards — tops among FSU running backs — and one touchdown. He added 46 yards on two kickoff returns.

Ward’s 6.4 yards per carry average was the best in the ACC among qualified players. Ward’s efforts earned him a scholarship.

Excelling Off the Field

The criminology major has maintained ACC Honor Roll status since arriving at Florida State. That made him a nominee for the Burlsworth Trophy as a redshirt freshman. The award annually goes to the nation’s top player who began his career as a walk-on.

Since then, Ward has seen his name on more recognized watch lists. Last week, he was listed on the Doak Walker Award watch list. This award is presented to the nation’s top running back. It also requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on the path to graduating.

Picking Up Where He Left Off

The redshirt sophomore is ready to go to work for the 2022 season in a running backs room with plenty of talent. Among those is newly-added Oregon transfer Trey Benson. While some projected starters might find the negative in a crowding position group, Ward has embraced his new teammate. The two are expected to share reps with Toafili, a third-year back.

The Plant City, Fla. native has developed into one of the better backs in the ACC. After a standout 2021 season, Ward is looking for an even better 2022.

Ward’s progress and accomplishments have shown what an elite competitor he is — not just on the field, but in the classroom as well. Look for Ward to have another outstanding season. With a deep corps of running backs, Ward may not put up huge numbers. But with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and return kicks, 1,000 all-purpose yards in well within the realm of possibility. 

Becoming a Leader

Ward has become a leader in the running backs room and for the entire offense. Adversity is nothing new to Ward’s life from beginning as a walk-on, earning his scholarship, to competing for meaningful playing time. Although Jashaun Corbin, last season’s leading rusher, is gone, there is still plenty of internal competition.

With athletes of Ward’s caliber, FSU has a chance to change the narrative in 2022. Fresh off four straight losing seasons, Ward will be a huge reason why FSU will succeed.

Although he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining after 2022, a big season could spell Ward’s last at FSU. Ward’s 5-foot-10, 195-pound frame, speed and versatility make him a candidate to play at the next level. 

An All-American season or winning the Doak Walker Award are probably lofty expectations, but Ward is good enough to earn All-ACC honors. If FSU is to have its first winning season since 2017, Ward will need to be a big part of that equation.