Cam Ward is a consensus top-three transfer portal quarterback after moving on from Washington State to the Miami football program earlier this month. Will Backus of CBS Sports provided "College football QB transfer grades: Notre Dame gets 'A', Florida State a 'C+' for key additions."
Miami received an A for adding Ward at QB. Notre Dame was the only other school to receive an A with their addition of Riley Leonard at QB from Duke. Oregon received an A+ for their addition of Dillon Gabriel from Oklahoma. Ward is the top returning passer in college football in 2024.
In 12 games during the 2023 season, Ward averaged 311.1 passing yards per game. Ward finished the 2023 season 19th nationally with 25 touchdown passes, 21st completing 66.6 percent of his pass attempts and 44th averaging 7.7 yards per attempt.
Ward was a big-play passer in 2023, finishing ninth nationally with 144 completions of 10 or more yards and 11th with 52 of 20 or more. David Lake of Inside the U reported that Pro Football Focus said, "Ward was credited with 24 ‘big time throws’ by PFF, which ranks fourth amongst returning Power Five quarterbacks from the 2023 season."
"Ward, who flip-flopped between the portal and the NFL before landing on Miami, is a creative passer that can hit off-platform throws akin to USC's Caleb Williams. Miami offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson comes from an Air Raid background that Ward should be plenty familiar with from his time at Incarnate Ward and then at Washington State, which still spreads things out. He will be able to play free and showcase that dazzling arm talent while giving Miami's passing game a much higher ceiling than it's had recently.- Will Backus, CBS Sports
The return of leading receivers Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George also provides Ward with two experienced and proven targets. Restrepo is the leading returning receiver in the ACC after setting the Miami single-season record with 85 receptions and adding 1,092 yards and six TDs in 2023.
George had 57 receptions for 864 receiving yards and was second among ACC returning receivers with eight TDs in 2023. Ward should elevate the Miami passing game iand lower their interceptions in 2024. Ward was 19th nationally with an interception on only 1.4 percent of his throws.
The expectations for Ward in 2024 are high. Ward will be expected by many to compete to be an All-American, earn first-team All-ACC and have Miami competing for a spot in the ACC Championship Game and College Football Playoff. Anything less will be doomed as a failure from his detractors.