The start of the summer offseason brought another hit to an FAU position of need.
Linebacker Jerrad Ward is no longer with the program, an FAU spokesperson told OwlAccess.com. FAU did not offer a reason for the split, but Ward said the decision came from head coach Lane Kiffin.
“Kiffin took my scholarship away for no reason and I now have to pay for rent and school so I need to work,” Ward wrote in a text message.
Ward would have been a senior in 2017. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Palm Beach Gardens-Dwyer product walked on to the football team in 2014 and quickly became an integral part of the Owls’ defense. He started three games as a true freshman and played in 27 games throughout his first three seasons.
Ward recorded a career-high 29 tackles as a freshman and 23 more in his second season, when he started twice.
Last year he played in eight games, recording nine tackles.
FAU awarded Ward a scholarship prior to the 2015 season.
Ward is the third FAU linebacker to part ways with the team since the beginning of spring practice. During those workouts Nate Ozdemir, last year’s starting middle linebacker, elected to give up football to pursue a military career.
Redshirt freshman Chanler Ferguson, who never played a down for the Owls, is also no longer on the team.
FAU mainly employed a two-linebacker set during the spring, a formation necessitated by injuries to the likes of starters Azeez Al-Shaair and Khantrel Burden.
Both Al-Shaair and Burden are expected to be ready for fall camp. The Owls also signed two linebackers as part of their 2017 recruiting class. Akileis Leroy is already on campus. JUCO transfer Carson Lydon is still finishing coursework.
Ward is one of four players who have left since the end of spring football. Late last week Illinois St. announced via Twitter that redshirt freshman wide receiver Antonio Hadden had transferred there. Safety Richie Kittles elected to transfer to North Carolina A&T.