verb (used without object)
1. to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement
“My whole journey in itself has been misunderstood and hasn't been properly accessed,” said Portland State nose tackle Myles Wade.
The journey he is referring to is one that led him to two junior colleges and two universities in four of the last five years. Coming out of Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., the athletic Wade was one of the top recruits in the state and was heading to Eugene to be an Oregon Duck.
Ranked number one overall in the state by Rivals.com, eighth at his position and 74th overall in the nation, Wade’s path seemed like that of all the highly regarded high school studs making the path to big-time college football. Unfortunately for Wade he did not qualify academically.
"I didn't qualify to go the University of Oregon out of high school. I contemplated giving up,” Wade said.
The reassurance from his father and mother helped him stay the course and follow his heart. He found himself at Arizona Western Junior College where he earned Junior College All-American honors. The focus was to return to Oregon after getting his grades up to snuff but after the 2007 season his mother Lori Jean Robinson-Wade was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
“At that point,” said Wade, “I wanted to go back home to Portland during my time at Arizona and just quit and hang it up. I was like this isn't working, maybe this isn't my calling anymore, but my father told me 'stay with your nose to the grindstone' and at that point in my life I had faith but I didn't really understand what it meant to be in my faith though.”
On Dec. 21, 2008, Wade’s mother passed away.
“From that day on out my faith in God grew more," Wade said, "and God has led me to where I am now. It really made me realize my potential to play football and I believe it's his mission for me to play in his honor, and not my own."
In 2009, Wade would head to Lubbock, Texas and play two seasons for the Red Raiders under Mike Leach. With NCAA eligibility at Div. I up he returned home to Portland to play for the Portland State Vikings.
This story is not about Wade’s past; it’s about his future. But to look forward it was critical to look back so people understand the quality football player Wade is and the perseverance it took to overcome.
To put into perspective how talented Wade was and is, he had over 40 offers in high school from football powerhouses like USC, Washington, Nebraska and Oregon. If not for academics and the untimely passing of his mother, Mike Mayock might have discussed how Oregon Ducks nose tackle Myles Wade impressed during the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine and how he was vital piece to Oregon's victory over Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game.
We will never know how it would have turned out if certain life-changing events had not altered the original course for Wade—but I think he would agree that he walks away from it a better man and football player.
Wade’s combine invite was not to Indianapolis, it is to this weekend’s NFL Super Regional Combine held in Detroit. He hopes to build off the momentum of his pro day, where he impressed scouts with his 35.5" vertical, 42 reps of 225 lbs, 9’1" broad jump and an impressive 4.99 40-yard dash for a guy who is 6’1 and 311 lbs.
"Honestly my motor doesn't stop,” Wade said when asked what the best part of his game is, adding, “I can be lined up on the weak side of the ball and the ball is going away from me you won't see my jog; I'll be sprinting to go get the ball. I'm going to chase the ball until the whistle is blown."
Stout and rock-solid, he loves those rare opportunities when defenses tempt fate and try to block him one-on-one.
“I know I got the offensive guard one on one," he said. "If I'm not sacking the quarterback, I'm making that quarterback run for his life. I'm going to bull [the guard] back or I'm going to just use a move and get past him."
Plenty of teams are in the market for a guy who can plug the hole and allow their linebackers to flow to the ball. One team that immediately comes to mind is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have to start looking for a long-term replacement for Casey Hampton, who is rumored to be entering his 12th NFL season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
"My favorite team when I was growing up was the Pittsburgh Steelers," Wade said. "I always wanted to be Jerome Bettis."
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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