Eric Ward's journey to Texas Tech and his stellar career in Lubbock centers around family.
Named preseason All-America third team as a punt returner (NationalChamps.net, Athlon) ... No. 2-rated all-purpose back nationally and preseason Big 12 first team entering the 2003 season (Lindy?s) ... one of three players nationally carrying a nation?s best 34-game reception streak into 2003 ... caught five passes for 79 yards in the spring game.
2002...AP All-Big 12 first team (all-purpose) and third team (wide receiver) Big 12 Coaches second team ... set an NCAA single-season record with 57 punt returns ... set the Tech single-season punt return yardage mark with his fourth return against Iowa State and finished the season with 752 yards ... third in Big 12 and 18th nationally with 146.8 all-purpose yards per game ... second on the team in receiving with 86 receptions and a team-leading 1,054 yards ... only second player in school history to record a 1,000 receiving yards in a season (Lloyd Hill, 1992) ... ranks third all-time at Tech and is third in the Big 12 with 162 career pass receptions ... also in second place at Tech in career punt returns (119) and is second in career punt return yards (1,376) ... ranks third in the Big 12 in career punt returns and second in career punt return yards ... also ranks second in the league with six punt return touchdowns for his career ... closed the season with 137 all-purpose yards in bowl win over Clemson ... returned five punts against the Tigers, including his third of the season for a touchdown on a 59-yard return ... also rushed for 30 yards and had 20 receiving yards ... rushed three times for 15 yards and had three receptions for 38 yards at Oklahoma ... had a stellar game against No. 3 Texas as he finished the game with 251 all-purpose yards (169 receiving, 44 yards rushing and 38 yards on punt returns) and two touchdowns ... finished the Oklahoma State game with 165 all-purpose yards, including 17 rushing, 71 receiving and 77 punt return yards ... also scored on a reception ... turned in 122 all-purpose yards against Baylor ... logged 18 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards and 41 punt return yards ... had 19 yards on three returns against Colorado ... also caught three passes for 20 yards ... had three receptions for 43 yards and a carry for four yards against Missouri ... also returned two punts 18 yards ... credited with five rushes for 36 yards and nine receptions for 84 yards at ISU ... also returned five punts for 51 yards against Iowa State ... turned in best collegiate performance against Texas A&M ... had 327 all-purpose yards (41 rushing, 120 receiving and 166 punt return) ... also returned his fifth career punt for a touchdown and scored on a touchdown reception ... 88-yard punt return against the Aggies was the longest ever allowed by a Texas A&M team ... had six receptions for 58 yards at New Mexico ... also returned seven punts ... rushed three times for 29 yards and caught five passes for 58 yards against N.C. State ... also returned four punts for 78 yards and finished the game with 165 all-purpose yards ... returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown in win over Ole Miss ... also caught four passes for 40 yards and had a rush for five ... finished the UM game with 114 punt return yards ... turned in career receiving game with 153 yards on nine catches at SMU ... finished the game with 164 all-purpose yards ... opened the season with 117 receiving yards on five catches with touchdowns at Ohio State.
2001...All-Big 12 Third Team by the coaches ... Associated Press Honorable Mention All-Big 12 ... third on the team with 36 points ... scored Tech?s lone touchdown on a pass from Kingsbury in the Alamo Bowl ... had six catches for 62 yards in the game ... finished the regular season with four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown against SFA ... also had one rush for 11 yards ... two catches for 77 yards, including a 68-yard reception, against Oklahoma ... had two carries for 16 yards and three receptions for 40 yards at OSU ... caught a career-high 11 passes against Texas A&M and rushed for 22 yards on one carry ... had a carry for nine yards and two receptions for 13 yards at Baylor ... returned four punts for 73 yards, including a 59-yard return, setting up a Ricky Williams? touchdown run ... returned punt for touchdown at Nebraska for third-career TD return ... return was second-longest ever for an NU opponent ... caught four passes for 47 yards and rushed once for seven yards at Nebraska ... named SBC Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week following NU game ... career-best 102 receiving yards against Kansas State ... also posted a personal single-game high of two touchdown catches ... had three catches for 49 yards, three rushes for 14 yards and a punt return against Kansas ... caught eight passes for 58 yards at Texas ... caught three passes for 30 yards at UNT and had one rush ... had two carries for 13 yards and four receptions for 40 yards against New Mexico.
2000...Excelled at returning and covering kicks ... named Third Team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News ... also named by Rivals.com to True Freshman Honorable Mention All-America squad ... returned a punt 34 yards and a kickoff 14 yards against ECU ? fourth in Big 12 and 23rd nationally in punt returns, averaging 12.6 yards per return ... also eighth in kickoff returns and 12th in all-purpose yards in conference ... in Big 12 games only, finished fourth in all-purpose yards per game at 112.0 ... carried once and caught seven passes for 69 yards, including a 44-yard strike, at top-ranked Oklahoma ... rushed twice for 33 yards and caught three passes against Oklahoma State ... also returned two punts versus OSU ... continued to be in middle of big plays, catching a game-long 43-yard pass from Kliff Kingsbury against 20th-ranked Texas ... caught four passes for 72 yards overall versus the Longhorns ... also had 21-yard punt return and one kickoff return against UT ... had record-setting performance at Kansas, totaling 271 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns ... received first carry of the season, running 42 yards for a score ... the run was the longest from scrimmage for a Tech player all season ... also ran a punt back 66 yards for a touchdown, his second return for a TD this season ... totaled 88 punt return and 69 kickoff return yards against the Jayhawks ... also caught five balls for 72 yards at KU ... had four kickoff returns for 71 yards, and three punt returns at No. 10 Kansas State ... returned six kickoffs for 108 yards and one punt for nine yards versus top-ranked Nebraska ... caught three passes for 56 yards, including game-long 31-yarder, against the Cornhuskers ... had four punt returns for 23 yards and two kickoff returns for 42 yards versus Baylor ... made one catch against the Bears ... returned two punts for 20 yards against Texas A&M ... had four punt returns for 102 yards versus Louisiana-Lafayette, including a 63-yard return for touchdown in third quarter ... returned three kicks for 59 yards against North Texas ... named to the Big 12 Commissioner?s Honor Roll.
High School...Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City, Okla. ? selected as Oklahoma player of the year by USA Today, Daily Oklahoman, Gatorade, Pigskin Preview, Inside Oklahoma Sports and KXY/Dr. Pepper ? named all-state by Oklahoma Coaches Association as a running back ? named to Oklahoma Associated Press Super team as a defensive back ? selected as Friday Newspaper defensive player of the year and player of the decade ? district player of the year ? preseason All-America choice by Street & Smith ? rushed for 3,235 yards and 53 touchdowns on 495 career carries ? caught 174 career passes for 2,551 yards and 27 touchdowns ? returned 58 career punts for 1,261 yards and seven touchdowns and 41 career kickoffs for 342 yards ? recorded 22 career interceptions for 342 yards and three scores ? scored 90 touchdowns in prep career ? ran for 1,243 yards and 22 TD as a senior ? had 52 receptions for 805 yards and 11 scores as a senior ? rang up 8,231 career all-purpose yards ? had 391 career tackles, 118 as a senior ? returned 10 career fumbles for 86 yards ? High School Coach: Rod Warner.
Personal...Wes Welker ? born May 1, 1981 ... son of Shelley and Leland Welker ... brother, Leland, played soccer at Southern Nazarene University.