Top MAC Football Players of 2013: #7 Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois DB

Mark A. Cunningham

Don't punt if our No. 7 player is on the field.

Jordan Lynch can consider himself lucky. The only time he has to face up against Jimmie Ward is during practice.

The senior from Mobile, Ala. enters his senior season in DeKalb with 41 games under his belt. His tenure started the moment he stepped foot on campus, playing in all 13 games as a freshmen getting named NIU's Freshman of the Year. Three years, 225 tackles, four interceptions and a sack later, Ward is ready to be the leader on a Huskies defense looking to threepeat as MAC Champions.

Ward has statistically improved each of his three seasons at Northern. He only recorded 21 total tackles as a freshman but exploded over the next two years hitting the century mark in both seasons. As a freshman, he had only one pass defended but that increased to four as a sophomore and 11 last year.

He's also a turnover machine. He has had one forced fumble in every year of his college career. He also has four interceptions in three seasons. And dude blocks punts like no other. And when he's not blocking punts, he has some experience returning them with a touchdown return in his freshman season.

Ward will have to be big for the Huskies with conference foes like Keith Wenning, Tyler VanTubbergen and Terrance Owens.

But seriously, reconsider punting when Jimmie Ward is on the field:

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