By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY — Nick Hardaway had a tough decision to make. Westmoore’s anchor on the offensive line had several scholarship offers, but none had him really excited.
Hardaway always had the dream of playing FBS (Division I) football, and none of his offers reflected that dream.
So the 6-foot-4, 315-pound offensive guard decided to take a chance and accept a spot as a preferred walk-on at Oklahoma.
“Since I was little, probably like every little kid, I had the D-I dream,” Hardaway said. “I had a good opportunity too. It was my chance to go play Division I football and I took it … I had some great offers from some great places such as UCO and East Central. The money was there. But when it came down to it, I had to chase that dream.”
There is no guarantee Hardaway will ever see the field or receive a scholarship, but he felt accepting the challenge was the right move for him.
“With their whole O-line situation, it’s not the best it can be,” Hardaway said. “Being a preferred walk-on, it’s a better time than ever for me to go in and make a name for myself. They told me it’s going to be a long road ahead. It’s going to be tough. I know that. But when it comes down to it, it’s my shot.”
Hardaway’s choice was part of a big day for Westmoore football, as many Jaguars took part in national signing day.
That included Addison Staggs, who signed with Central Oklahoma. Staggs was a playmaking safety for the Jags and hopes to be the same for the Bronchos.
Staggs’ sister, Jade, went through the same process. She signed with the Oklahoma State golf team three years ago and is now on the other side of Bedlam at OU.
“It’s a big moment in my life,” Addison Staggs said. “Seeing my sister sign three years ago, I was always wanting to work to that point. And it’s finally here. It’s a great feeling. UCO was close to home for me. I am a big family man. I wanted to stay close to home. I think I can do a lot of good at the UCO program.”
Moore had one football player sign on the dotted line Wednesday. Ethan Birdwell will be attending Bethel College in Newton, Kan.
Southmoore held its signing day festivities Wednesday afternoon. Most of its athletes had already made it known where they were headed. That included Jackson Stallings, who signed with Yale, and the state’s top recruit D.J. Ward, who’s already enrolled at Oklahoma.
Ward was unable to play his entire senior season after transferring from Lawton. Still enters OU as the top-ranked prep prospect in the state.
“I am glad it’s done,” Ward said. “I am back to low status and just ready to play football again.”
Nick Ward was the last of the SaberCats to make his decision and he chose Wofford University in South Carolina over Air Force.
“I made my final decision yesterday actually, the day before signing day,” Ward said. “I was talking to both coaches and decided Wofford would be the place for me … I felt like I fit in better there.”
Ward was also being recruited heavily to play baseball. One of the reasons he chose Wofford is the opportunity to play both.
“That was very important,” Ward said. “I really like playing both sports. And I feel like I can excel at both. This is the biggest day of my life. Basically picking my future. It’s a great day for me.”
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