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The Cleveland Browns selected Nordonia graduate, Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Ward, a 2015 graduate, helped lead the Knights football team to a state runner-up finish in 2014. During his senior season, Denzel was named first team All Ohio and was selected as the Associated Press Co-Defensive Player of the Year in Division II. Ward continued his academic and athletic career at the Ohio State University where he was named a consensus All American cornerback for the Buckeyes.

Nordonia Head Football coach, Jeff Fox stated that, “Denzel is such a great kid. He’s always been a young man that focused on working hard each and every day. He is a true competitor and will be a welcome addition to his hometown team.”

In addition to his football prowess, Denzel was also a State Champion and All Ohio track athlete, winning the 200m dash during his senior season.

Nordonia Athletic Director, Rob Eckenrode added, “to see Denzel mature from the young freshman who arrived at Nordonia High School to the world class athlete he has become is a testament to his work ethic, determination, and the values instilled in him by his family. I am extremely proud of the man he has become; he truly is an inspiration and role model for all of our students at Nordonia.”

Congratulations to Denzel and the entire Ward family, you have made Nordonia proud!

Other teachers and staff had this to say about Denzel:

From Nordonia Principal Casey Wright:

“As a school community we are proud of Denzel Ward. Not just because he is a great football player, it is because he is a great person!! I have heard many people dismiss kids when they talk about their dreams. He just proved to every Nordonia Knight that if you work hard and dream big, your wildest dreams can come true!!!”

Middle School Teacher Jan Tylicki

“I just remember Denzel as a very polite, responsible and respectful 7th grader. What I really remember most about him was that beautiful smile with nice teeth. Sounds silly, but he was an awesome student, and a class act through high school and college.”

High School Math Teacher Samatha Fales

“I had Denzel as a student in algebra I remember him as a hard-working respectful young man and an amazing long jumper!”

NoAnnouncer David Foust

“Talking with Denzel Ward at the scores table during basketball game is urging him to play with energy and be a leader every game he would turn around and say “We’ve got this Mr. Foust we are going to win this one.””

Assistant Athletic Director Ron Gura

“It is amazing to see how individuals progress through their lives and overcome adversity Denzel has earned an opportunity of a lifetime because of his desire to be better each and every day I am proud of him on how he has represented himself his family and Nordonia. ”