Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Florida State Seminoles

Treshaun Ward bet on himself as an FSU walk-on. It’s paying off, for his family and the Seminoles.

“I just bet on myself and rolled the dice,” the Tampa Bay Tech product said. His gamble has paid off.
FSU running back Treshaun Ward started his Seminoles career as a walk-on but has earned a scholarship and developed into a key contributor.
FSU running back Treshaun Ward started his Seminoles career as a walk-on but has earned a scholarship and developed into a key contributor. [ KYLE PULEK | Courtesy of FSU Sports Information ]
Published Aug. 18, 2021|Updated Aug. 18, 2021

Though Carlena Ward doesn’t remember how she got the message, she’ll never forget the three life-changing words her son, Treshaun, delivered last spring from Florida State: “I got it.”

It, Carlena found out, was a scholarship. After two years as a walk-on running back with the Seminoles — and two years of bills for tuition, books and housing — her son earned his way to a full ride.

“As far as that burden, it lifted off of his shoulder, as well as mine,” Carlena said. “Then I saw a different level come out of him.”

Related: FSU quarterback battle: ‘I just want to be right,’ Mike Norvell says

The Seminoles saw that different level all spring, and they’re still seeing it during fall camp. It’s enough to think the former Tampa Bay Tech standout will be a valuable contributor in FSU’s backfield, starting Sept. 5 against Notre Dame.

“I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of really good backs,” said second-year coach Mike Norvell, who had three of them drafted from Memphis. “Treshaun has the skillset that I think can be really special.”

Ward has been displaying that skillset across sports his whole life, from basketball and wrestling to track and football. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Tampa Bay Tech and committed to Maryland during his senior year before decommitting in the aftermath of the locker-room scandal involving then-coach D.J. Durkin.

Treshaun Ward was a three-star recruit at Tampa Bay Tech.
Treshaun Ward was a three-star recruit at Tampa Bay Tech. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times (2018) ]

As a three-star recruit, Ward had other options. Toledo and Western Kentucky made late recruiting pushes. FSU wanted him but only as a preferred walk-on.

Though Ward was interested, he didn’t want to put the financial pressure on his mother — a Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts employee who still is paying off her loans from Keiser University. Carlena admits she was “very concerned” about the money, but she told her son she didn’t want to look at it as a hardship.

“I took it as not so much a burden as an investment into his capability and what his talent is,” his mom said.

Ward decided to view it the same way. He believed in his abilities — his vision and elusiveness that can’t be coached. He trusted what he can do.

Related: Florida has no top-10 teams. That’s a concern, if not a problem (yet)

“I just bet on myself and rolled the dice,” Ward said.

The payoffs came slowly. When injuries and NFL departures sapped FSU’s backfield depth in the 2019 Sun Bowl, Ward came through with 44 yards on 10 carries. He scored his first career touchdown against Duke in December, received the offense’s scout team award and impressed coaches so much that FSU changed its recruiting plans to account for his growing role.

Treshaun Ward starred at Tampa Bay Tech and has blossomed into a key contributor at FSU.
Treshaun Ward starred at Tampa Bay Tech and has blossomed into a key contributor at FSU. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times (2018) ]

That all led to running backs coach David Johnson waking Ward up at 8 a.m. this spring to tell him Norvell wanted to speak with him. And that led to the three life-changing words Ward shared with his mom later that day.

“He had to FaceTime me to let me know, this is a serious deal,” Carlena said.

The deal has created serious ramifications, beyond his family’s finances. After being put on scholarship, Ward broke out with 41 yards on six carries in the spring game. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound redshirt freshman has earned praise for his toughness and competitiveness, likely earning him a significant role in a talented backfield that will be a focal point of FSU’s offense.

Treshaun Ward had a breakout spring, which has him poised to contribute this fall for the Seminoles.
Treshaun Ward had a breakout spring, which has him poised to contribute this fall for the Seminoles. [ KYLE PULEK | Courtesy of FSU Sports Information ]

Even from her Plant City home, Carlena can notice a change in her son’s demeanor. He is more confident, ready to be toward the front of the pack instead of the middle.

“He’s putting himself out there,” Carlena said.

And ready to take his game to another level. Though Ward said earning a scholarship was “definitely needed,” it wasn’t, and isn’t, his end goal. It was a sign that he’s going the right way, not that he had arrived.

“Being on scholarship was a lift off my shoulders, but it doesn’t stop what I was doing…” Ward said. “I’m still on the same path.”

Related: Reasonable goals for FSU football? Growth and 6-6

• • •

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge