All-Conference Tight End Puts Teammates Before HonorsAugust 4, 2008
By CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Making a position change is never easy, but senior Ryan Ard has taken it in stride. An all-conference selection as a tight end last year, Ard was asked to give up his position and move to the defensive side of the ball.
“I have thought about the fact that I’m giving up a position that I was selected as all-conference at,” said Ard. “I figure I can work just as hard on the defensive line, and hopefully be just as good there. It would be great to earn all-conference again this year, and be able to say I made all-conference on offense and on defense.”
Already seen as a leader on the team, the selfless act by Ard spoke volumes to the team, and the coaching staff.
“Ryan has always been a leader and a consummate professional in the way that he has handled himself,” said Head Coach Jay Mills. “When I approached him after the season, it was obvious that we needed to become stronger on our defensive front. Ryan had previous defensive experience, having started his career at linebacker. We asked him to make the move, and he was all for whatever would help the team. It was a selfless act on his part, and gave validity to everyone else that it really is all about the success of the team.”
Ard, who played in every game for Charleston Southern last season, earned all-conference honors after hauling in 20 catches for 192 yards. He also had two touchdowns, coming against Johnson C. Smith and Gardner-Webb.
The Bucs lost four of the top five defensive linemen in terms of tackles from last year’s team, forcing the coaching staff to search for answers. They found an answer in the form Ard, who welcomed the challenge.
“Coach Mills came to me and said that we needed a defensive end,” said Ard. “I agreed to try it, and I’m actually having a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed being on that side of the ball and getting to just fly around and hit people. I still have a lot to learn, though.”