For the first time ever, a Keydet football player will wear the number zero on his jersey. Jordan Ward ’21, defensive lineman, was selected to wear the number this season. The NCAA recently approved the number zero for football jerseys, said Wade Branner ’83, associate athletic director for athletic communications. The number has been in use for several years in other sports, including basketball.
Wearing the first Keydet number zero on the gridiron equates to “a lot of eyes” on him, Ward said. “I just want to make sure that I can be a person that if people are looking at me … I’m doing the right thing, I’m leading the team and making sure that we’re accomplishing what we need to accomplish.”
When the number became available, Scott Wachenheim, head football coach, decided it would go to a defensive lineman, and Ward was an easy choice.
“We wanted the zero to mean ‘zero defects,’” Wachenheim said. “Jordan has zero issues.”
Wachenheim describes the mechanical engineering major as an “overachiever” who “plays hard every day at practice.” Ward is a member of the Honor Court, does well academically and is one of the football team’s captains.
Since awarding No. 0 to Ward, Wachenheim has noticed an improvement off and on the field from other defensive linemen; they are competing to wear the number in future seasons.
Ward 2019 Season Highlights:
- Played and started all 12 games at end
- Saw the most plays of Keydet defensive linemen with 773 total on the season
- Had 53 tackles on the season which ranked ninth most among Keydet defenders and second among defensive linemen
- Led the team in tackles for loss with 11 for 41 yards
- Produced six quarterback hurries which was second on the team and fourth in the conference
- Racked up five games with six or more tackles including a season-high seven against Western Carolina
- Made a stat mark in TFL in 10 of 12 games including two for seven yards against Mars Hill
- 2019-20 SoCon Academic Honor Roll
Read more about Jordan Ward ’21 and other Keydet athletes at vmikeydets.com.