Kai Wolfe lives not far from where I grew up. So, you'll have to forgive a little geographic homerism on my part. Alma High School, the home of the Cardinals, is not a big school. They field an eight-man football team, which gives you some idea. But it's a team which came off only two losses last year, the last one coming in the state playoffs.
And you could say Wolfe is one of the "big" reasons for that.
OK, enough playing on words.
But at his size, especially in eight-man football, Wolfe admits that he doesn't see many his size. He's seen one, to be exact. He was big. But that's about it. "Yeah, he was probably 6-4 and 300 or so, but he really couldn't move all that well," Wolfe said.
Just a refresher for those who don't know, in eight-man football you can have three or four down linemen on offense, and on defense you can go with three or the more typical four. Wolfe found himself playing center and guard on offense, and on defense you can imagine he spent most of his time on the nose.
You can say the same for the offenses facing him.
"I'd get triple teamed a lot. They would collapse down on me, and seemed like the entire line was trying to block just me," he said.
In some cases, they actually were.
And on offense, Wolfe said he remembers when teams would run a four-man front against his team or even better, when they ran a three-man front. Considering the fact that Wolfe takes up the space of two guys by himself, you can figure he liked it when there were only three guys across from the ball. "I think whenever we ran a three-man front, our running back had at least 175 yards. He was getting a bunch of yards beyond the line of scrimmage before he would even get touched," he said.
With all the attention he got on defense, it's probably surprising that he still managed to get 43 tackles. You can imagine that most teams figured out where he was, and then ran the other way. But on offense it's kind of hard to do that when you know that wherever the ball is, it's probably right behind him.
So yeah, Wolfe stands out.
But don't think that he's just a big guy playing small school football. He's got questionnaires and the interest to show that he isn't just another name on the wall. "I got stuff from Alabama, North Dakota, Colorado State, Miami and, of course, Nebraska," he said.
His coach also got a visit from Nebraska's big man for the big men, fourth-year offensive line coach, Barney Cotton. "That was pretty cool. I know he stopped in to talk to my coach. He dropped off some stuff for their camps in June as well as some stuff about junior days," Wolfe said. "I don't know exactly when I'll make it up there, but I know I will definitely get up there to take a look around."
What is funny about talking to Kai, is that you can tell he's a fan of sports. He basically plays all the sports, and without anytime to condition himself physically, he went right from football straight into the basketball season. And he's big track guy, too. Maybe it's that versatility that hasn't made him only football crazy, but ask him about football and, of course, the Huskers - he gives a pretty practical response. "Oh, I like them. I mean, I really like what direction the program is going under Coach Pelini," he said. "But I kind of grew up a fan of Kansas too, because both of my parents really like the Jayhawks."
Right now recruiting is something Kai is thinking about, but not really. It's one of those things he recognizes as possible, but isn't worrying about it until there's something solid. Besides, outside of all the sports he plays, Wolfe sports a 3.96 GPA with aspirations of becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon.
How about that for well rounded?
So, football and his future are there, but as an option and one he'd enjoy taking to the next level if that happens to come around. As for the Huskers and looking at the potential and the scenario of an actual written offer, something most kids in Nebraska will never know, yet another even tempered response for Wolfe: "If they offered me, I'd definitely consider it. That's a great program with a great tradition," he said.
Wolfe isn't typical for a lot of things, not just where he is and the size of team he's on. But he'll be one name to watch down the road, because I don't care if you are playing eight man or 11-man, 6-4, 300 plus is big, playing all the other sports is huge and having his GPA means that this kid is going to be solid, both on and off the field.