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February 26, 2012
Ward Waiting For Gate to Open
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Junior days are in full swing around the Big 12 region with every Big 12 program in Texas and Oklahoma already having had at least one event and most already finishing their second junior day. With such it would seem reasonable that one of the elite players, at one of the game's elite positions, would be logging serious travel miles in the last few weeks.
However, that hasn't come together for Lawton, Okla. Rivals100 defensive end D.J. Ward. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound prospect has been invited to junior days at Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas among several others.
However, due to a variety of travel issues, he has not been able to make it to any of the junior days he has been invited to as of yet. That being said, there were two, in particular, that he was a bit more disappointed about not getting to.
"Oklahoma and Texas, those two I was definitely wanting to, I was definitely I trying to go to," Ward said. "I've been trying to get my parents to try and get up there, I'm definitely trying to be at Oklahoma and Texas at their junior days. I'm trying to get to those.
"It's just been tough getting it worked out with my parents. It's work, my dad, his job, there is a whole bunch of stuff going on so it's just been tough so far.
"I'm not set on those two, just right now I'd like to see more of those two, if I have more time then I'll see who else I can get to."
He hasn't spent any of his time on the road, but that's not to say that he still isn't thinking of moving forward with his football career. As such he is putting his spare time in Lawton's gym.
"I'm just working out, it's going really good, been getting my maxes up, I just want to do more," he said. "Right now, I'm just trying to get my size better so I won't be so inadequate when I get to college
"Right now I'm at 240-pounds and some change - I want to stay just around here and no more than 250 I'm kind of happy where I'm at."
With Oklahoma's junior day coming next weekend Ward has it planned to make it to Norman but had also hoped to get to the Sooners event on Feb. 14 as well as having plans to get to Texas on Feb. 12 and then again yesterday.
That being said, he is still talking to any of the numerous amount of coaches that have expressed an interesting. Among the lengthy list he has offers from not only Oklahoma as well as Oklahoma State, Arizona, Kansas State, Oregon State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Tulsa.
Among the coaches he speaks to most frequently is Sooners defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright.
"I'm always on Facebook talking to all of the coaches that are contacting me," Ward explained.
"(Wright) always hits me up on Facebook, like every other week, filling me in and just quick little things. I'd much rather talk to him in person, I feel like it would be better that way."
Some have wondered whether the travel problems could be a sign that his family would like to see him stay closer to home but that's not the case according to Ward.
"I think they'd like it (if Ward stayed closer to home) but they still want me to make the right choice for me, they are happy for me whatever I do. But if I go as far as I can possibly go, they'll support my decision," he said.
Ward said that prior to the end of the on-campus contact period, Sooner recruiting coordinator Cale Gundy was the last member of a coaching staff he saw walking the Lawton high school hallways.