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Former Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward will transfer to Miami, he announced on social media Saturday. Ward had previously declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, but will now return to college football to finish his career with the Hurricanes. 

"Ever since I declared, I haven't gotten a lot of sleep," Ward told 247Sports. "It's always been in the back of mind, creeping up there. I feel like it's a win-win situation. I can go (to Miami) behind a great head coach, great offensive coordinator in a great offense, I feel like I can improve my stock even more. There were a lot of things coming into the picture. But I love playing college football, and I feel like there's just more left on the table for me."

Ward began his career at Incarnate Ward under offensive-minded head coach Eric Morris and didn't take long to make a major impact, pushing out an incumbent starter and winning the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision after averaging 376.7 yards passing per game during the Spring 2021 season. He returned as a starter in Fall 2021 and was named an FCS All-American. 

When Morris left UIW to take the offensive coordinator job at Washington State, Ward followed. He continued to thrive there, throwing for nearly 7,000 yards and 48 touchdowns in two seasons. He emerged as one of the most elusive and creative passers in the sport.

Ward threw for 13,874 yards and 119 touchdowns across his two stops and entered the transfer portal with one year of eligibility remaining as a graduate transfer. Ward declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, spurning initial interest from the likes of Florida State and Miami, on Jan. 1 before rescinding his name with a surprising announcement Saturday. 

Miami moves in silence

Prior to Ward's course reversal, it looked as if the Hurricanes might strike out on all of their top quarterback options in the transfer portal. The staff cast a very wide net at that position after incumbent starter Tyler Van Dyke took his talents to Wisconsin. Ward, who visited Miami, was the first domino to fall away from Coral Gables when he initially declared for the NFL Draft. 

The Hurricanes also took a big swing at former Kansas State star Will Howard prior to his commitment to Ohio State, and were reportedly interested in Arkansas' KJ Jefferson and USC's Malachi Nelson before they decided in favor of UCF and Boise State, respectively. Former Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa seemed like an obvious option for the Hurricanes, given their proximity to his family and older brother Tua -- who starts for the Miami Dolphins -- but there's some doubt on whether or not he'll actually be granted an extra year of eligibility to play in 2024. 

With options wearing thin, Miami was still working Ward behind the scenes the entire time. Its consistent effort paid off as it now gets a signal caller with more upside at the position than it's had in quite some time. 

Healthy competition expected 

While Ward likely isn't coming to Miami to ride the bench, the Hurricanes are gearing up for a great competition in their quarterback room between now and the start of the 2024 season. Ward is actually the second quarterback transfer to commit to "The U," joining former Albany star and FCS All-American Reese Poffenbarger. 

Poffenbarger made his decision known on Jan. 8 after -- at the time -- it seemed like Miami whiffed on a plethora of top options. Not to discount Poffenbarger's ability; he led the FCS in passing with 3,614 yards and 36 touchdowns while guiding Albany to an appearance in the FCS Playoff semifinals. 

Miami's transfers join a roster that already boasts two quarterbacks with starting experience. Rising sophomore Emory Williams is a guy that Mario Cristobal and his staff are clearly high on. He got his first career start as a true freshman in 2023 and replaced Van Dyke ahead of a game against Clemson, leading the Hurricanes to a win while throwing for 151 yards and one touchdown. He got another start against Florida State in November and had 175 yards and two touchdowns against the eventual ACC champions before suffering a devastating injury to his throwing arm. 

These veteran additions -- Ward only has a year of eligibility left while Poffenbarger is entering his fourth season of college football -- will give Williams more time to recover from his injury and develop without much pressure to step in immediately. Another nice depth piece is sophomore Jacurri Brown, who started two games in 2022 as a freshman. Brown also got the starting nod in Miami's 2023 Pinstripe Bowl loss against Rutgers due to Williams' injury and Van Dyke's decision to transfer. Barring any more transfer movement, Miami has one of the deepest quarterback groups in all of college football, an invaluable asset in the modern era.