One of LSU’s top leaders in the secondary plans to call it a career after the team’s Jan. 2 appearance in the Citrus Bowl.
Versatile senior Jay Ward announced Wednesday on his social media account that he was declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.
“My time in Baton Rouge has been special, but I have reached a point in my career where I have to make a decision about my future. I will be pursuing a lifelong dream and declaring for the 2023 NF Draft.”
He accepted an invitation Wednesday to play in the Senior Bowl .
Sophomore wide receiver Jack Bech entered the transfer portal Monday and will not take part LSU’s bowl game against Purdue in Orlando.
Ward finished this season with 58 tackles, ranking him sixth on the defense. He also had 2 ½ tackles for loss, four passes broken up and an interception. He matched a career-high 11 tackles with 11 stops in a 31-16 win over Mississippi State on Sept. 17.
He also scored a touchdown in LSU’s 21-17 road win over Auburn, returning a fumble for a score.
The 6-foot-2, 188-pound Ward was a four-year letterman for LSU out of Moultrie, Georgia.
Ward’s value grew during the team’s difficult 6-7 season in ’21. He played corner, safety and dime back and experienced the greatest season of his career with 71 tackles, two interceptions and six passes broken up.
Ward, who played safety and corner back this year, had a year of eligibility remaining because of an extension the NCAA made, taking into account athletes that participated during the pandemic in 2020.
LSU lost a second player from its ’22 roster when cornerback Raydarious Jones, who was suspended the entire season because of academic reasons, entered the transfer portal, Matt Zenith of On3Sports reported.
The 6-2, 170-pound Jones of Horn Lake, Mississippi, played in a total of 12 games in three seasons with LSU. His best year came during the ’21 campaign with nine tackles, including four apiece against Ole Miss and Alabama.
Jones was the nation’s No. 35 cornerback out of Horn Lake High where he also quarterbacked the school’s team to the Class 6A state championship.