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Butte College football player signs with University of Arkansas Pine Bluff

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OROVILLE, Calif. - Butte College Linebacker Isaiah Ward committed to play at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff.

The Golden Lions compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in Division I. It's a tough division, but Ward says he's more than ready. 

"Competition is the name of the game," he said. "The SWAC is a hard division. I know if I can ball out there, I can ball out anywhere.

Ward certainly balled out in his year at Butte. He tallied 32 tackles, forced a fumble, and finished fourth in the state with eight sacks.

However, his football journey to Division I hasn't been easy. 

"I went to Dixie State and redshirted a year," Ward said. "It wasn't the right fit. Then during the Covid season, I transferred over to a school in Iowa called Ellsworth to play. I got injured, came back and fought through the injury."

Ward spent the first two games of the 2021 season on the sidelines with an MCL injury. It took a lot of hard work to get healthy again, but he says it paid off when he got that D1 offer.

"Overcoming the injury was the most difficult part really," the linebacker said. "Mentally, watching everyone play but not being able to play was hard for me. When I got here, they really made me think that 'you're going to get through it. Just do your school work, do everything right and when the time comes you'll be ready.'"

"He had a great year," Head Coach Robby Snelling said. "A big part of that is being focused. He stayed engaged the entire time. It's tough when you go through injury to stay totally locked in. He did a great job of that."

Ward isn't the only Butte College player heading to Pine Bluff. Running back Johnny Williams and Defensive Back Grant Ewell will join him on the Golden Lions. 

"I went to high school with Johnny and Grant and I were captains of the defense on that side," Ward said. "I feel like we're gonna bring a lot of butte pride and try to bring a winning culture and instill it right away."

The Trio heads out to Arkansas in early January to participate in spring ball. 

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