Name: Xavier Ward
School: South Dakota State University
Position: DL

Height: 6’1”
Weight: 287

What goals did you set and/or accomplish in your final collegiate season?

My two main goals were to become a team captain and win a national championship. We did not win a national championship, but I did become a captain. It was my goal every year of college to be voted as a team captain. I think it’s important for teams to have strong leadership. Football is an individualized and team sport, but to succeed individually you must trust and work with your teammates. My on-field success was reached because I had this trust with my teammates. I believe my last season was full of growth both mentally and physically. My foundation and how I want to be known as a player/person is simple; 1. Known as a leader 2. To be the most physical in the trenches 3. That hard work and consistency will allow you to achieve anything 4. To always have Faith in the Path that the Lord has laid out for you

Q: How do you think you took advantage of the extra year of eligibility to increase your chances of going pro?

I was able to become stronger physically and mentally. I think it allowed me to change my body and focus on the physical aspect of the game of football. Mentally I took the time to learn more about football and the schemes of defenses and offenses, and why certain plays were used. Basically, it was a period of growth for me.

Q: What would your coaches and teammates say about the type of player you are?

Physical player and knows the game well. They all know I’m grounded in my faith and scripture. They would say that they can trust me to do my job, but also take educated risks. I’m there to win and have the mentality that no one will beat me. Basically, I work hard and it shows in the physical and mental aspects of football. “I’m a time giver, not a time taker”.

Q: When you are studying film, what are the things you focus on to improve your game?

I believe the mental aspect(Plays and Players Tendencies) of the game is equal to the physical aspect if not more important. The physical aspect should be easy if not second nature. If you are on the field you are ready to play physically, but understanding what’s going to happen and when it might happen are skills that need to be mastered. Football is a mental sport and deserves to be known inside and out. Film has always been a good way for me to calm my mind and prepare me before a game or practice. Basically, to have success on the field defensively you must be aware of the tendencies, formations, and habits of an offense. The reason I’m separated from all of the other defensive linemen is that I study film to understand the game and situations rather than just my specific position.

Q: What separates you from the other pro prospects at your position?

I believe my leadership, attention to detail, physicality, and determination to succeed is what separates me from other pro prospects. My whole life I have been the underdog and have shown each time I deserve to be in the number one spot. I will outwork my competition both physically and mentally. As a Defensive lineman, I have a quick twitch, bend, and good balance. I have played against the best competition in FCS and teams in FBS. I’m a versatile player and easy to coach. I’m willing to adapt at all times and have the want to always be better. I think there is always room to improve and I will work for that each day.

Q: What is your offseason plan to train and prepare for professional opportunities?

During this offseason, I trained with Chuck Smith(Dr. Rush) and Dez Walker(Samuri Sack) for my 2022 DRAFT preparation. They trained me for my pro day that happened on March 23rd. Currently, I am working out and doing fieldwork. I plan to continue to train how I trained in Atlanta with ChuckSmithTrainingSystems. It was a great opportunity and developed me as a player both mentally and physically. I will continue to learn and develop as a player, and wait as professional opportunities present themselves to me.

Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?

I’m a man of Faith, so I believe helping others on and off the field is important. My strengths on the field would be leadership, determination, and providing an unmatched work ethic. I love what I do and always strive to be the best. Off the field I will work with volunteer programs, and also try to impact the youth of a community. I have volunteered at samaritans feet in Sioux Falls South Dakota and I always make sure I donate to the community when I can. Basically, I try to give back off the field and lead and be the best version of myself on the field.

Q: What is your final pitch to the NFL and any other pro leagues?

My goal is to make it to the NFL. I don’t know what that path looks like, but this is the goal. I know I have the ability and determination to do that. Every chance and opportunity I have gotten I have taken full advantage of you will see that from day one when you choose to work with me. I will be there for the development of the program and my teammates. I will work to be the best, and make a difference in the team. When you give me an opportunity it won’t be wasted. Respect, Leadership, Faith, and Hardwork are the characteristics that ground me. Football is my life and has been my life all I know is how to work hard, I just need you to give me that opportunity.