Felony theft case against Texas Tech's Da'Leon Ward dismissed

A felony theft case against Texas Tech running back Da'Leon Ward was dismissed Wednesday by Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell.

"There was not sufficient evidence in my opinion that a Lubbock County jury could find him guilty of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt," Powell told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Ward, 20, who led the team in rushing in 2016, was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony theft.

An investigation into stolen cell phones by Texas Tech police in November led to the indictment. Powell said there may be other people involved, but there was not enough evidence to file charges.

"I'm sorry the young man got arrested," Powell said. "He should have never been arrested; the case should have never been filed."

Ward rushed for 428 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, becoming the first true freshman to lead Texas Tech in rushing since Shaud Williams in 1999. Ward redshirted in 2017 because of academic reasons but was projected to make a major contribution this season.

Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told reporters on Wednesday that he was surprised to learn about a warrant for Ward's arrest. The school began investigating the situation Tuesday and into Wednesday before Powell called and said charges never should have been filed.

"Coach [Kliff] Kingsbury has shown that he will not tolerate certain things around the program," Hocutt said. "However, when something like this unfolds and the facts are not what they may seem or as they're initially reported, we're going to stand by our young people. ... When they're wrong, there are consequences. But when they're not wrong, we're going to continue to fight and stand beside them and support them the best we can."