NORMAN — DJ Ward was ready for it to end. After a year that started out with him being considered the top ranked player in the state and ending with him not playing a single game, the Southmoore senior was looking forward to graduating Friday.
“High school has been a long and strenuous thing,” Ward said. “I’m just glad it’s over with. It was fun while it’s lasted, but it’s time to get back to work.”
According to Rivals.com, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Ward is the No. 1 ranked football player in the state and the sixth ranked defensive end in the country. He committed to the University of Oklahoma on April 14. At that time he was still enrolled at Lawton High and coming off a stellar junior campaign.
But during the summer, Ward transferred to Oklahoma City Douglass. He soon left Douglass for Southmoore and was ready to play out his final year as a member of the Sabercats.
However, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association had questions regarding the move to Southmoore. Even though the organization had given him a hardship waiver to play football at Douglass, they declined to give him one when he moved into the Moore School District.
Ward said he doesn’t know why the OSSAA rejected his hardship waiver.
“My parents know,” Ward said. “They didn’t need to tell me about it. So I really didn’t want to find out any way.”
Ward and his family appealed the OSSAA decision and that was declined also. That is when it finally hit him that he would not be playing his senior year.
“When all of it was happening, it was unreal,” Ward said. “ But it is what it is and you have to move on. The day after they rejected whatever they rejected, I just sat there and thought about it that I’m not playing at all this year. I haven’t not played football since I was a little kid. It was really different.”