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March 7, 2013

Two New Sooner Assistants Combine for New Offer

Back on Feb. 6 both Bill Bedenbaugh, Oklahoma's new offensive line coach and Jerry Montgomery, Sooners new defensive line coach were both finalizing their recruiting classes at West Virginia and Michigan. Fast forward a month later and now the two are working with each other on the Sooners staff and handing out one offer after another.

While each had been offering players that they had familiarity with from their previous posts the two came together to combine for their most recent offer.

That offer is massive 6-foot-9 and 285-pound offensive tackle, Denzel Ward out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, who hadn't been receiving interest from Bedenbaugh while he was at West Virginia but had from Montgomery and was actually committed to Michigan at one point.

It was that connection with the former Wolverine coach that led to Ward receiving his offer from Oklahoma on Wednesday night.

"Kind of just in the last week actually, it's kind of weird how that happened. Coach Jerry Montgomery, the new (defensive line) coach, he knew me from Michigan because I used to be a former Michigan commit," Ward started to explain. "We kind of knew each other from then. I just gave him a ring to check up on him and he said he was at Oklahoma now, he had just gotten there. I just asked him could he give my film to the offensive line coach, the new offensive line coach that just got there.

"The o-line coach we have been talking the last couple of days. He showed my film to coach (Bob) Stoops and he said they really liked what they saw and they offered me. I set up my official to go there next year as well."

That visit is set for Oct. 5 when the Sooners will host the TCU Horned Frogs. The offer was extended from Bedenbaugh over the phone and was excited to hear Ward would be officially visiting.

"Was just excited about it," he said about receiving an Oklahoma offer. "I had a feeling in the last day or two that they were going to offer soon. So, I kind of was prepared for it and I was just ready to let them know I was going to take one of my five official visits there. I already had that kind of laid out on what dates I wanted to go and I talked to my parents about. I just let them know that's what I was locked in for and they were excited about it. I'm just glad that over the next two years they will be losing nine offensive linemen so it's a lot of opportunity for me."

At this point Ward also holds offers from Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue and Texas Tech. Texas A&M and UCLA are two programs that could offer soon as well.

Ward is from Chicago, Ill. and recently moved to Florida back in January because he felt it would give him more exposure being in the Sunshine State. He was receiving interest from top-notch programs while in Chicago but feels like the competition he will face next season in Florida will help prepare him for the next level.

"I just felt that it makes my chances better of playing early, especially playing in Florida, you are going to play against great competition every game. If I do well down here my senior season I'm sure I can go to college and ball out early," he stated.

After just a few months in the weight room at his new school at IMG, Wards says he is now up to 306-pounds and feels he is already improving as a prospect. Added size mixed with the fact that he is an early graduate is a few other things that can help Ward see the field earlier in college.

Later on this season when Ward steps foot in Norman for his official visit, what is it he will be looking for out of the Sooner program?

"One thing I am looking for will be the setup they show me academically," Ward said. "Then kind of just being in the action because I know that will be a great game with it being TCU. Meeting some of the players on the team and just seeing the city of Norman in itself."



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