Update: One day after he was arrested on a theft charge, Texas Tech running back Da'Leon Ward had his case dismissed in Lubbock County court citing insufficient evidence.
In short, a grave mistake was made regarding Ward, who had an arrest warrant issued against him after an indictment by a Lubbock County grand jury was returned.
"There was not sufficient evidence in my opinion that a Lubbock County jury could find him guilty of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt," said District Attorney Matt Powell via the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "I'm sorry the young man got arrested. He should have never been arrested, the case should have never been filed."
Texas Tech running back Da'Leon Ward, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound sophomore from Dallas, was booked into Lubbock County Jail at 2:35 p.m. CT Tuesday according to the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Ward is facing a serious charge.
The charge against #TexasTech RB Da'Leon Ward is theft between $2,500 and $30,000, a state jail felony. https://t.co/TuTsyoTKqA— Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams) August 21, 2018
According to the Avalanche-Journal in a follow-up, the theft charge stems from a November incident involving cell phones. A sealed indictment followed earlier this summer.
Ward is expected to be a key piece of coach Kliff Kingsbury's squad in 2018. He led the Red Raiders in rushing as a freshman in 2016 with 428 yards and three touchdowns, despite not logging a carry until the sixth game of the season. He sat out the 2017 season and took a redshirt to rehab a leg injury and focus on academics, but was expected to be one of the feature backs heading into a critical year for Kingsbury. The sixth-year coach of the Red Raiders was excited about the progress Ward made during his time off when fall camp kicked off.
"It's night and day from where it was," Kingsbury told the Avalanche-Journal earlier this month. "So we're hoping that he will carry that into the fall, because he loves football, great work ethic, never misses a rep. It's just maturity and focus off the field is the area he had to work on. We feel like he's made some real strides."
With Ward's status in doubt, Tre King will likely take most of the reps as the No. 1 running back for the Red Raiders. King rushed for 623 yards and five touchdowns as a junior last season.
Texas Tech opens the 2018 season on Sept. 1 in Houston vs. Ole Miss.