Rivals250 defensive end Channing Ward has had a busy summer.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder has not only been working at Aberdeen (Miss.) High School trying to get the Bulldogs back to the Class 3A State Championship game for the third consecutive season, he has also been hitting up some of the top college campuses in the Southeast.
"It's been a long summer," Ward said. "I've been trying to workout and work hard to try and better myself and move on to the next level."
So far this summer Ward has made appearances at LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss and multiple visits to Mississippi State. Those programs have all offered along with Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis, Notre Dame, Southern Miss and Tennessee.
While on those visits Ward is trying to get a feel for the campus atmosphere which will ultimately help him make his future decision.
"They are all about the same," Ward said. "It's all going to boil down to where I feel at home at."
This past Friday Ward was back on MSU's campus for the Big Dawg Camp for the second year in a row. He worked out with the Bulldogs defensive coordinator Chris Wilson and was one of the camp's top performers.
State remains one of the top contenders in the hunt for the Magnolia State talent.
"I love Mississippi State," Ward said. "They are building a good program. They are building up and are going to be something this year."
Ward was recently named a member of the Clarion Ledger's prestigious Dandy Dozen list as one of the top preseason players in Mississippi.
The four-star prospect lined up all over the field for Aberdeen this past season leading the team with 132 tackles, 17 stops for loss, 12 sacks and two interceptions - one of which he took back for a touchdown. He also played a little tight end on offense adding 396 receiving yards and five more touchdowns as well as rushing for another score helping lead the Bulldogs to the Class 3A state title game and a 14-2 record.
Ward and the Bulldogs will begin their quest to return to Jackson next week and hope to capture the state title that has eluded them the past two seasons.
"I've been waiting on this for the longest," Ward said. "Only one more week and we'll be back at practice. I think we're going to be real good. I feel like this is going to be our year right here."
Ward has been named the No. 120 prospect in the country as well as the second-rated prospect in Mississippi by Rivals.com as well as the nation's No. 8 strongside defensive end.