Oct. 28, 2009
By Katie Koerner, MSU Athletic Communications
For fifth-year senior and hard-hitting cornerback Jeremy Ware, his football career at MSU has all been about the journey.
The Fort Myers, Fla., native originally enrolled at South Carolina in the fall of 2005, where he red-shirted his freshman season on the Gamecock football team.
After transferring to Michigan State University and joining the Spartans for their 2006 campaign, Ware found himself watching from the sidelines once again. While he admits his collegiate football career was not what he expected at first, it's the way he finishes it that's most important to him.
"It has been a long journey for me, but now that my time here is coming to an end, I want to make sure I finish it on a good note," Ware said.
Eventually, following his adjustment to Michigan's cold weather and getting comfortable in a new program, things started to fall into place.
"Once I learned the system here, and got over the transition of being in Michigan and away from my family, everything started to flow together," he said. "I started to gain some confidence in myself, and I think the rest of the team did too."
To Spartan football fans, this confidence became apparent on the field during his junior season, when Ware found his place on the team appearing in 12 games - starting four of them at cornerback. In his first career start, Ware recorded a career-high eight tackles and tied a school record with five pass break-ups at Northwestern.
"I remember just wanting to go out there and prove that I belonged here," Ware said. "The coaching staff had a lot of confidence in me so I just went out there and played like I knew I could."
Since then, Ware has become a regular in the Spartan secondary. Following the Northwestern game, he earned three more starts in 2008, and also collected his first career interception in the win at Michigan. He has started all six games this season at field corner.
"Playing for MSU and getting my education here has been an experience I won't forget," Ware said. "Football has taken me all over the United States, and a kid like me from Fort Myers would have never had a chance to experience some of those places otherwise."
When Ware is on the field for the Spartans, his presence is immediately noticed with his highlight hits in the backfield. He takes pride in being one of the hardest-hitting players on the football field, and it's his pure desire to win that drives his relentless attitude every game.
"Making big plays and hitting hard really gets everyone's energy flowing," said Ware. "On defense you really want to make big plays to swing the momentum and get your guys going."
With his final season in the Green and White well underway, Ware is focusing on being a leader for his teammates, and doing whatever he can to help his team be successful.
"Being a senior I know guys are looking up to me more, and holding me more accountable," he said. "I'm just trying to make plays and come through when guys are counting on me."
Along with taking initiative on the field as a leader, Ware has found another way to use his journey as a football player to help his teammates - and the MSU football program as whole.
"I try to help out the younger guys and teach them from my experiences," remarked Ware. "There are always going to be ups and downs in football, and I want to let the younger guys know and be prepared for that."
Over the course of his time at MSU, Ware said that without the support from his teammates and coaches he would not be the player he is today. The lasting impressions they made on him is just one thing he will take away after his time in East Lansing.
Currently finishing his sociology degree, Ware is looking forward to seeing his family more after graduation, and spending time with his three-year-old son, whom he said serves as his motivation both on the field and off.
"I love hearing about my boy smiling and laughing when he is watching me on TV," Ware said. "He loves football, and he loves me."
Hoping to continue his football career at the next level, Ware is waiting to see how the rest of season unfolds, and the opportunities that come along with it before making plans for his future.
"We still have the chance to accomplish a lot of our goals this season," said Ware, "and maybe even surprise some people."
GETTING TO KNOW Jeremy Ware
Favorite food: Pork chops
Favorite movie: The Program
Favorite MSU class: Sociology 361 with Mrs. Dodson
Favorite Athlete: Deion Sanders
Favorite off-season activity: Hanging out with his family.
Dream vacation spot: Hawaii Favorite hobby: Video games, especially Madden
This feature was originally published in the Oct. 17 edition of Michigan State Football Gameday Magazine.