AHS senior-to-be Tyler Ward headed to California in pursuit of football dreams | AspenTimes.com

AHS senior-to-be Tyler Ward headed to California in pursuit of football dreams

Ward will suit up for Calabasas High School near Los Angeles this fall

Aspen High School standout Tyler Ward is hoping those college offers start coming his way. And in order to give himself a better chance of playing football at the next level, Ward announced Friday he will spend his upcoming senior season in California.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder intends to transfer to Calabasas High School, which is located in the hills just northwest of downtown Los Angeles. He admitted it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it’s a situation that could lead to bigger opportunities down the line.

“It’s a pretty good football program they have out there. There were a string of quarterback transfers out there that kind of led to my interest,” Ward told The Aspen Times on Saturday. “But I’m not necessarily going for the whole football aspect. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to experience something new, live somewhere new, the whole nine yards.”

Suiting up for the Coyotes means Ward will play for a much bigger school — Calabasas has about 2,000 students, compared to Aspen’s 500 or so — and compete against tougher competition that will test him more than the Western Slope could. Calabasas has a rich history of producing college talent, including last year’s star quarterback, Jaden Casey, who signed with the University of California.

With a few players having recently left the Calabasas program, Ward could be in a good position to be the team’s starting quarterback this coming fall.

“Coming out here to a big California school, it should make things a lot easier to get exposure,” Ward said. “It was definitely tough leaving some of my friends, some of my teammates, my coaches. All that was super tough. I still kind of have a little bit of guilt, just leaving. I thought we were going to have a good year this year. I was pretty excited about everything that was falling into place. But the whole opportunity was truly too good to pass up.”

Calabasas is coached by Cary Harris, a former cornerback at the University of Southern California (2005-2008) who bounced around the National Football League for a few years. The team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Curtis Lamont Conway, played at USC in the early ’90s and had a 12-year NFL career.

Ward’s been in contact with numerous programs, a handful at the Division I level, but as of Saturday had yet to be offered a scholarship. The summer before a player’s senior season is often a busy one in terms of camps and recruiting, but because of the coronavirus pandemic much of this has grinded to a halt and made it difficult for recruits and coaches alike.

Trey Fabrocini, who would have been part of the AHS class of 2020, took a similar route as Ward when he decided to play for Fisher Catholic High School in Lancaster, Ohio, for his senior season. Fabrocini is committed to play running back at Division III Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

“It hasn’t been easy getting recruited coming out of Aspen. That’s definitely been a struggle,” Ward said. “This was kind of my big summer, especially after I started to build relationships with coaches and then being able to attend their camps. But the coronavirus kind of altered that a little bit.”

Ward will certainly leave a void on the Aspen football roster this coming season. He took over the starting job as a sophomore, leading AHS to a 6-4 record and a playoff appearance by throwing for 2,202 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Skiers finished 4-5 overall in 2019, Ward’s junior season, one that was hindered by numerous injuries.

If all goes to plan and Ward does find a collegiate home, he said he’s in position to graduate at semester and could join a college program in time for spring camp in 2021. He’s also a standout lacrosse player, but is putting all his eggs into the football basket.

The Coyotes are scheduled to begin practice June 29, so Ward will be headed west sooner rather than later.

“Really depending on how I play out there will really determine where I end up playing,” Ward said. “L.A. is kind of the hotbed for quarterbacks these days, so I’m in a really good area to succeed and get exposure. I’m confident. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, looking forward to the challenges. It should be a good situation.”