Arkansas Football: Brandon Wolford's Tale of Grit and Determination
If you are looking for illumination into the life of a celebrated Razorback, your probably in the wrong place.
But if an inspired story of a young, determined walk-on who is prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure success for himself and make a difference for his football team captures your interest, pull up a chair and let me tell you about Brandon Wolford.
For most college football players, the road to the division one gridiron follows a predictable path.
You know the story.
A high-profile prep football player, bathed in high school adulation by those who care about such things, receives multiple scholarship offers and in a fit of self promotion, calls the cameras to a self-aggrandizing event where he dramatically puts on the lid of the college program that was lucky enough to receive his services.
That event never took place for Brandon.
Instead, his story is comprised of a hard-working, albeit undersized, wide receiver whose blazing speed was contained in a 5'11", 165 lb. body that didn't fit the prototypical measurements that college football coaches crave.
What couldn't be measured by body size however, is the drive that Wolford has to become the best he could be on the football field.
Or the obstacles he has faced to fulfill that desire.
While at Mayfair High School in Lakewood, CA, Wolford was an underused wide receiver whose potential wasn't cultivated for whatever reason.
Not willing to accept the notion that his football career was over after high school, young Brandon took his game to Los Angeles junior college El Camino Compton.
Though his statistics in junior college were modest (13 catches for 118 yards), the experience served to reinforce in Wolford's mind that football was the path he wanted to continue on.
Now for most young players who didn't possess the accolades of their more celebrated contemporaries, that road would take them to a less competitive venue.
Some place like, oh, UC Davis or perhaps Montana State.
Not Brandon, though.
No, for Wolford, the next destination would be SEC country where he would walk on at mighty Arkansas.
A business major at Arkansas, Wolford got down to the business of changing the minds of his Razorback football coaches regarding his value to the team.
Last year he was a redshirt whose main contributions were to the scout team.
This year he finds himself breaking spring camp as third on the depth chart at wide receiver.
Of course, when a team has such studs as Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarious Wright at wide receiver, goals for playing time for wideouts behind them must be modest.
And so they are for Wolford.
In fact, his hopes for 2011, beyond success for the team, is just to get better, and, if possible, see the field of play during garbage time or whenever one of the stars needs a breather.
But the most important of those goals is the "getting better" part.
Already possessing great speed (unofficial 4.41 forty) and versatility (he can play all of the receiver positions except tight end), getting bigger is next on his agenda.
After seeing the SEC opponents he will be facing, Wolford knows that he needs to pack on some bulk to hold up to the hard hitting in the SEC.
So he hits the weight room religiously.
But playing football, training and going to school is only part of Wolford's story
For a young Southern California boy used to the fast-paced life in Los Angeles, getting familiar with the more comfortable pace of Arkansas can be a real culture shock.
And it was for Wolford as well.
Though it took him awhile to get used to the slower pace, Brandon likes life in Arkansas and he knows that it is probably more conducive to his ultimate objective, which is to become the best Razorback he can be.
To quote Wolford, "I take everything seriously and I put 110 percent into everything I do. To be the best I can be, I am willing to do whatever it takes."
After talking to Wolford and hearing the passion in voice about his Razorbacks, the dedication he has to football is abundantly evident.
And for those of you who are betting against this young wide receiver from sunny Southern California making it in Fayetteville, well, that's just the way Wolford likes it.
After all, he has spent his whole football career bucking the odds
Why change now?
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