Texas Tech Football: Charges against Da’Leon Ward dismissed

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Da'Leon Ward /

The Texas Tech football team has dodged a bullet as theft charges against running back Da’Leon Ward have been dropped.

One day after he was arrested for allegedly stealing cell phones at the Texas Tech student recreation center, Da’Leon Ward has officially been cleared of all charges.  The news broke Wednesday morning via the Twitter account of Lubbock attorney Tray Payne.

Tuesday, Ward was arrested for an incident that allegedly took place in November.  The news of Ward’s arrest broke at almost the precise moment head coach Kliff Kingsbury was praising the sophomore running back to the media for his performance in Saturday’s scrimmage.

In fact, Kingsbury has consistently praised Ward throughout the spring and summer as he worked his way back into the program’s good graces following a team-imposed redshirt year in 2017.

This is the latest turn in what has been a wild ride at Texas Tech for the Dallas native.  As a true freshman in 2016, Ward finished the season as the Red Raiders’ leading rusher despite not playing until the sixth game of the season.

Ward posted 428 yards and three touchdowns on 103 carries that year as he positioned himself to be the feature back in the offense moving forward.  But off-field concerns, mainly academic issues, forced Ward to fall out of favor with Kingsbury and the coaching staff.

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To get his grades in order and work on his maturity, Ward was forced to sit out last season using the year as a redshirt.  At times, it was doubtful as to whether the Texas Tech football program was even open to the possibility of Ward’s return.

But this spring, Ward was give a second chance and he appeared to make the most of it as he was listed at the top of the running back depth chart following the spring practice sessions.  What’s more, he was named to the preseason Doak Walker Award watch list.

But Tuesday’s arrest seemed to put Ward’s status once again in question.  However, as further information came to light over the course of the past 24 hours, Ward’s name was cleared.

Unconfirmed internet reports suggest that Ward’s roommate used Ward’s ID to gain access to the recreation center where he committed the crime Ward was accused of.  That story has not been confirmed by the Lubbock Police Department or Texas Tech University but if true, it would explain how Ward would have been arrested and then exonerated in such a short period of time.

Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell dressed the situation by giving the following statement to the “Lubbock Avalanche-Journal”.

"“There was not sufficient evidence in my opinion that a Lubbock County jury could find him guilty of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.  “I’m sorry the young man got arrested. He should have never been arrested, the case should have never been filed.”"

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This news is obviously a relief for Ward but it also helps ease the concerns of Texas Tech football fans.  With significant question marks at the quarterback and receiver positions, the Red Raiders figure to rely heavily on a running game centered around Ward and senior Tre King and an offensive line with 93 career starts to its credit.