NORMAN — Oklahoma will have a veteran to go alongside its young, talented defensive front. The NCAA has granted senior defensive end John Williams a hardship waiver and a sixth year of eligibility. "We're excited to have John back for another season,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. "We've felt for some time that John is an excellent player. He was off to a great start before the injury. I know he's looking forward to making a strong contribution for us next season.” Williams suffered a torn Achilles tendon against Tulsa this past year, causing him to miss the rest of the season. Williams also had season-ending knee surgery following the opener against Texas Christian in 2005. "The latter part of my career here is going to be my most successful,” Williams said. "Everything is a process. This is what I'm living right now. I've got no choice but to move ahead.” Even though he started the first four games before the injury this past year, it's unlikely that Williams will start next season. Coming back along with Big 12 sack leader Auston English is rising sophomore Jeremy Beal, who was a force late in the season and appears to be an emerging star. Still, Williams should factor into the rotation along with rising senior Alan Davis and Frank Alexander, who redshirted this past season. Incoming freshman R.J. Washington could also factor into the mix as well. Williams is expected to miss spring practices, but he could be cleared to work out with the team as early as June.