ASU's Team Unity During Adversity Appeals To Wade

A team's true character is revealed during the tough times. Granted, any group of players and coaches would rather avoid losing seasons, but the school of hard knocks usually offers invaluable lessons. Running back Loren Wade witnessed first hand how ASU handled hardship, and came away impressed. The team's resolve helped his decision to commit to the Sun Devils.

The Serra high school star visited Arizona State during the weekend of a tough loss to Washington State. He was greatly impressed by the composure of the team and its coaches. "There was no animosity, even though they were going through a tough season." Says the PrepStar all-American. "Even after losing, they weren't down on each other. All they were talking about was bouncing back. I really liked seeing that…The coaches were not ripping into them after the loss, and that really showed that they're a great staff. There's a lot of team unity, and they seem to look out for each other" The Los Angeles native who earned first-team all-state and all-league honors, enjoyed other aspects of his visit: "Daryl Lightfoot was my host player, and I liked hanging with him. I also liked that all the players were close. I believe that to win you have to stick together like a family. The facilities are beautiful too. I just liked the whole visit."

Two of ASU's opponents in the 2002 season, Nebraska and Arizona, were some of the schools seriously recruiting Wade. The running back visited the later school, as well as Colorado who was the first school to contact him. One factor that worked heavily in favor of ASU, was the fact that Wide Receivers Coach Daryl Jackson was a Serra High School graduate. "ASU contacted me first when I was going into my junior year" Recalls Wade, "And they offered me at the end of my junior year. I met with Coach Jackson. He's my boy (smile). I like him a lot, and I heard a lot of good things about him because he graduated from my high school." The Sun Devils running back situation played a large role in his decision as well: "ASU was one of the best opportunities for me to play early. Mike Williams is the only experienced running back on the team. They have a lot of young running backs, so I have a chance to compete with them."

The incoming ASU freshman comes to his new team with impressive accolades. In his junior year he was a SuperPrep and PrepStar Junior All-American, thanks to his 1,469 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns in only eight games. In his senior year he rushed for 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns. At the end of that year he was selected Serra's Most Valuable Player, and was rated as the No. 6 running back in the West by PrepStar. His coach at Serra Scott Altenburg naturally had some high praise for his running back: "He runs a 4.5 and does a good job mixing speed and power. We played in a one back system, and he did very well in it. He has very soft hands, and is real versatile…At the end of his junior year he was the Angelus league's Offensive Player of the Year. We're sorry to see him leave. ASU is getting a great player." Wade thinks that his power is a big part of his game, but can also have some unusual drawbacks: "I do a good job picking up blitzes, but I should probably work on protecting myself a little more, because I love to run over people. (smile). "

The running back plans to report with all the other ASU newcomers on August 2nd, and is excited to join his new teammates. "ASU has a great recruiting class after a tough year. That shows you that players believe that this team can be better. I know we're gonna be better than last year. You're not gonna win every game every year. Sometimes schools have to go through bad years to become good. I see a lot of young good talent here, and I know that we'll bounce back." Wade plans to make his mark in his first year: "The coaches told me that they want me to play right away. But it's really up to me and my work ethic. I just have to be ready to play, and I'm confident that this is what's gonna happen."

Being able to sign talented players with high character and the athletic skill to match it, is a perfect and some times unattainable combination coaches seek in recruiting prospects. It is quite evident that Loren Wade fits this rare description. In a sports world, which always asks, "What have you done for me lately"? Wade's ability to see the silver lining and the hidden intangibles in a losing and frustrating 2001 season is quite refreshing. Judging by the quality of ASU's 2002 recruiting class, they're many more skilled players who share the same belief, which can only help continue to attract high caliber players to the Sun Devils team.

Recruit Profile

Name

Loren Wade

High School

Serra HS, Gardena, CA

Position

RB (Played LB too)

Height

6-0

Weight

210

Date of Birth

3/6/84

Hometown

Los Angeles, CA

Nickname

Just my family name - Wade

Favorite TV Show

Don't watch much TV. But I like to play the Madden NFL game (smile).

Favorite Movie

Belly

Favorite Singer

Donnell Jones

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Favorite Drink

Hawaiian Punch

Favorite Athlete

Magic Johnson

Favorite Pro Team

1995 Chicago Bulls

Person you most admire

Magic Johnson. He takes care of businesses, and doesn't have a negative image.

First Football Memory

I was a sophomore. In one of my first games I broke away for an 87-yard touchdown.

One Thing most people don't know about me

I only started playing Football in the ninth grade.

Why did you choose ASU?

Close to home.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

I'd like to play in the NFL. If that doesn't work, I'd like to be a sports journalist.

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