OU commitment D.J. Ward has college football in his blood

Defensive end grew up in a big Ohio State family. But on the eve of his transfer to Douglass High for his senior year, Ward is ready to become a Sooner.
by Ryan Aber Published: July 21, 2012
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— D.J. Ward understands how lucky he's been.

Ward is in a military family. His dad, Demetrius Sr., was in the Army for nearly 25 years.

His mother, Vanessa, grew up in a military family herself.

Unlike many military families, though, including plenty of his friends at Lawton, Ward hasn't moved from base to base around the country.

Demetrius was stationed at Fort Sill, where he met Vanessa, from 1985 until 2009, when he retired and joined Northrop Grumann, a large defense contractor.

It wasn't easy, though, as the tradeoff involved Demetrius volunteering for hardship tours in Korea (three times) and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (once), so his family could remain in Lawton.

Now, though, Ward is facing a move for the first time, after his father accepted a Junior ROTC instructing job at Douglass High School.

The final paperwork on the job is expected to be completed by next week, allowing the family to move and for D.J. to start school at Douglass on Aug. 1.

“I'm just looking forward to finishing my senior year,” Ward said.

Ward is the No. 1 player on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the state's top recruits. He has committed to Oklahoma, giving the Sooners four commitments on the list.

“I always watched college football and thought there was no way I'd ever be able to do that,” Ward said. “When I started being recruited and realized I could have that chance, it was surreal, knowing that I was blessed enough to get this opportunity.”

There's no doubt now Ward belongs at that level. In addition to the Oklahoma offer, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end has offers from other big-time schools from around the country. He'd likely be garnering many more if he wasn't committed to the Sooners.

That Ward he turned into a big-time football player shouldn't have been that big of a surprise.

Demetrius grew up in Lima, Ohio, about two hours outside of Columbus. He was — and remains — a big Ohio State fan, something that has rubbed off on D.J.

The curb addresses at the family's Lawton home feature the scarlet “O” logo, as does a flag in the front yard. A blanket in the living room also displays his Ohio State pride.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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No. 1: D.J. Ward

School: Douglass (Played last season at Lawton)

Height: 6-3

Weight: 245

Position: Defensive end

Recruited by: Committed to Oklahoma. Also has offers from Arizona, Auburn, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Tulsa among others.

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