Wildcats' 15.83 awards per fall sport lead conference by a wide margin
2012: True senior ... Excelled in his third year as a starter on NU offensive line, moving to left tackle in 2012 after spending the previous two seasons at right tackle ... Named honorable mention All-Big Ten by both league media and coaches, the first such honor of his career ... One of Northwestern's top performing student-athletes in the classroom, this year becoming a Capital One Academic All-District V honoree for the third time in his career ... 2011 Capital One Academic All-American ... Named a recipient of the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award, making him one of just 15 FBS and FCS players across the country to earn the distinction ... The award comes with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and renders him a finalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation's top football student-athlete ... Co-recipient of NU's Carnig Minasian Citizenship Award, presented to player who has been an outstanding citizen on campus, in the community and on the field ... Named the offense's big playmaker for Boston College game and player of the game on offense against South Dakota and Nebraska ... Has helped NU post third-best rushing average in the Big Ten (230.9) ... 39 career starts ... Academic All-Big Ten.
2011: True junior ... Starting right tackle ... Named a Capital One first-team Academic All-American ... Has started 26 consecutive games at right tackle ... Named to Capital One Academic All-District first team for a second straight year ... Big Ten Distinguished Scholar ... Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
2010: Started all 13 games at right tackle ... ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-District selection ... Academic All-Big Ten ... Named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (compiled a 3.7 or better GPA for the 2010-11 academic year) ... Tabbed NU's Offensive Player of the Week for the Purdue game.
2009: One of three true freshmen to play in 2009 ... Played in 12 games ... Made his collegiate debut vs. Towson ... Played both the guard and tackle positions.
High School:Rivals.com All-Midwest Region and All-American and SuperPrep All-Midwest Region and All-American offensive tackle ... Ranked 219th nationally among all players and 17th nationally among all tackles by Rivals.com ... Ranked fifth among all players in Rivals.com Illinois player ranking and second among all offensive linemen ... Ranked 28th among all players in the Midwest Region (six states) by SuperPrep and 25th nationally among all offensive tackles ... Tom Lemming Top Player and 13th-ranked offensive tackle nationally by Lemming ... Named a consensus 2008 all-state selection by IHSA Class 6A Football Coaches, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign News-Gazette ... Herald News Gridiron Offensive Player of the Year ... Member of the Chicago Tribune's Scholar-Athlete team ... Class co-valedictorian ... Two-time all-area honoree by Herald News, Sun-Times and Southtown Star ... Two-time Chicago Catholic Blue All-Conference pick ... Helped lead the Celtics to back-to-back state tournament appearances with a berth in the Class 6A state semifinals (lost to eventual champion Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin) ... Team captain ... Also lettered in track ... Named school's co-valedictorian ... National Merit Scholar Commended Student ... AP Scholar with Distinction Award ... Sociedad Honoria Hispanica ... Presidential Youth Leadership Conference invitee ... IHSA Academic All-Stater ... Illinois Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Achievement Award winner ... NHS member ... Coached by Mark Coglianese.
Personal: Born Patrick Michael Ward ... Son of Brian and Laurel Ward ... Father played college football at Illinois and grandfather played at Dartmouth ... Mechanical engineering major.
The Ward File
Q: Name five favorite songs (and artist) on your I-Pod:
A: "This" (Darius Rucker), "Hey, Soul Sister" (Train), "Better Together" (Jack Johnson), "Jack and Diane" (John Mellencamp), "Lay Down" (O.A.R.)
Q: If you could dine with anyone from any period in history, who would it be and why?
A: Leonardo da Vinci because he is one of the greatest geniuses this world has ever known.
Q: What is the greatest lesson in life that you have learned?
A: There is no substitute for hard work. You can fake it as much as you want, but eventually you'll be exposed if you didn't put in the work.
Q: A song that best describes you and why?
A: "Alright" by Darius Rucker because I'm happy with the simple things in my life.
Q: Something people would be surprised to know about me is:
A: I started doing yoga this off-season.
Q: My favorite place to visit is and why?
A: My family has a cottage in Michigan. It is real nice to get away and relax for a weekend and enjoy the watersports.
Q: Which current NU football player is the biggest jokester on the team and why?
A: Probably Mike Bolden. He had some crazy idea about making a "seat-belt dance" music video this year.
Q: My favorite thing about NU is and why?
A: It has a great location. It's nice to be in a suburban area and be able to go downtown. Plus, I'm a local guy so that has its benefits too.
Q: Best part about being a Northwestern football player is:
A: Being teammates with the best student-athletes in the country.
Q: Describe Coach Fitzgerald in five words or less:
A: Energetic and Passionate
Q: Describe your position coach in five words or less:
A: Patient and a great teacher
Q: Most humbling experience:
A: Freshman year of college, in my first Big Ten game, I got beat bad by a defensive lineman. I realized I'd need to really step up my game to be able to compete at this level.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement and why?
A: I have all A's in my engineering classes. It's important to me because I want to succeed as a student and as an athlete and I have found a balance to be able to do both.
Q: The best book I have ever read is and why?
A: "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly. It was exciting and dramatic with plot-twists I didn't see coming. I couldn't put it down.
Q: The person that inspires me the most is:
A: My family and friends. They were my first and best fans and I know they'll always support me.
Q: When I played football as a kid, I pretended to be:
A: I didn't really pretend to be any particular player, but I was always the quarterback.
Q: My favorite pregame ritual is:
A: I always read the program before each game.
Q: If you could have a starring role in any film already made, which movie would you pick and why?
A: Any non-important character in Caddyshack. I can't even imagine how much I'd laugh being around that cast all day.
Q: My favorite food is:
A: Pancakes from Mr. Pancake in Wisconsin Dells.
Q: My favorite thing about playing at Ryan Field is:
A: Playing on natural grass. It's much better than FieldTurf.
Q: Best thing about Northwestern is:
A: The people. Everyone is really friendly here.
Q: My ultimate SportsCenter highlight would be:
A: Holding a national championship trophy.
Q: My favorite television show is and why?
A: I really enjoy Burn Notice. My favorite parts are when the main character improvises gadgets with everyday materials.
Q: If I were not playing football, I would be:
A: Playing intramural sports.
Q: The three words that best describe me:
A: Competitive, Ambitious, and Driven
Q: My football-related superstition is:
A: I always eat the same thing each Friday night and Saturday morning before a game.
Q: If the Big Ten expands in the future, pick one school you'd like to see added and why?
A: Notre Dame. They already have a bunch of rivalries with Big Ten schools.
Q: Which FORMER NU football student-athlete has had the most impact on your Wildcat career and why?
A: Keegan Grant (who just finished playing) because we would work out together and he helped push me in the weightroom. Plus, he was one of my best friends on the offensive line.