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2016 Oklahoma Sooners Football Countdown To Kickoff | 87 Days!

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt junior defensive end D.J. Ward is looking to break out in 2016. After appearing in just six games in 2014, Ward made appearances in all thirteen of Oklahoma's contests in 2015, including the Orange Bowl where he recorded a career high four tackles.

At 6-2/250 Ward had been a career backup on a star-studded defensive line that featured current Dallas Cowboys rookie Charles Tapper at the same position. Ward now has the opportunity to continue the tradition of Oklahoma's strong defensive ends as he looks to slide into a starting role this fall.

A product of Southmoore High School, in Moore, OK, Ward was rated as a 4-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals, Scout, and 247Sports. In addition to his scholarship from the University of Oklahoma he also held offers from Arizona, Auburn, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M.

ESPN and Rivals had him ranked at the top prep prospect in the state of Oklahoma in 2013.