NFL Draft Q&A: WR Ryan Wolfe

After setting a Mountain West Conference record with 283 career receptions, UNLV's Ryan Wolfe is ready to make the leap to the NFL. Find out why he's being compared to Colts rookie Austin Collie, how he's preparing for the NFL Combine, and much more in this exclusive interview with Ed Thompson.

Ryan Wolfe answers additional questions in this two-minute audio clip exclusively for subscribers. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound receiver talks about the two NFL wide receivers he would like to meet--and why, and what he enjoys doing when he's not playing football:

Ed Thompson: You caught a conference record 283 passes and finished fourth all-time with 3,495 yards. What are you most proud of as you look back on your record-breaking career at UNLV?

Ryan Wolfe: I think as time passes after the season you get a new perspective on the whole thing. Going into each week I got a lot of questions from outside sources about my career as a whole and it's hard, as an athlete, to focus on your entire career when you're trying to get through each game and each week. Now, looking back, I think the most important thing is my consistency throughout my four years. I caught passes from six or seven different quarterbacks in four years and I was able to play every single game except for my very last one, so I was reasonably healthy throughout that process.

Thompson: In your first game as a freshman you registered six catches, 160 yards, and a touchdown. Did you ever imagine that you'd be able to get off to a fast start like that in your first college game appearance?

Wolfe: No, thinking back on that game, I was just a little wide-eyed freshman trying to make sure I ran the right routes, and things just came together for me early in that game. That season as a whole was a coming-out party for me because a lot of people didn't know a lot about me coming out of high school. I was just happy it worked out in that direction.

Thompson: You played in 47 games up until your late-season foot injury. Talk about how your injury occurred and how you're progressing.

Wolfe: I was catching punts during our bye week, our week before our last game, and it was just kind of a fluke injury. My foot rolled all the way over on my toes and broke the fifth metatarsal in my left foot, so it's just the outside bone. I had surgery ten weeks ago and I have a screw in there just to make sure the bone stays in place. I'll keep the screw in as long as I'm going to play. Right now I couldn't be happier with my progress and my rehab--the injury is almost in the past now. I started running, I'm training every single day to get ready for the Combine and getting faster so I can prove myself at the next level.

Wolfe was a four-year starter and a three-time all-conference selection.
AP/Isaac Brekken

Thompson: When did you start running again?

Wolfe:Almost two weeks ago. Slowly and surely I've worked to the point where it's now up to me as to how fast I progress with it. As long as I'm not having any pain I can continue to go forward.

Thompson: Are you able to do the bench press effectively at this point?

Wolfe: Yeah, I've been working upper body since they've let me, and in a way you're also doing upper body work when you're on crutches. I've been trying to do as much as possible, and now that I'm getting more active I've been able to do a lot of lower body workouts and some alternative methods of conditioning like swimming, arm bikes or different sprints that wouldn't have much impact on my foot. I've been able to do workouts like that for the last month or so.

Thompson: When will you reach a decision about what you'll participate in at the Combine? I'm guessing you might not know until you are ready to head to Indianapolis.

Wolfe: Exactly. Right now I'm just taking it week by week and doing as much as I can while still being smart. I think the worst thing I could do is re-injure my foot right now, so I have to make sure I'm doing just enough, not overworking my foot and making sure I'm taking the appropriate steps to become the best player I can.

Thompson: Why do you think you were so successful as a wide receiver during your college career?

Wolfe: I think it was my consistency and work ethic. I always like to think that there may be some other players who are more gifted than me athletically, but there's not going to be too many people in the nation who are going to outwork me in the weight room, the film room and at those little things it takes to be a successful player. Then put that together with my consistency of being able to be that guy on the team who's going to be out there working hard every second and doing the things necessary in clutch situations to make things happen.

Thompson: Why do you think you've been effective as a big-play receiver or deep threat?

Wolfe: I think for me it's just playing at full speed on every route and at everything I do. I like to pride myself in being able to catch the ball out in front of me, which allows me to get up-field a lot faster. Once I have the ball in my hands, I'm looking for the fastest route down the field. A lot of my deep touchdowns and deep plays aren't deep down the field, they're just inside routes where I made one person miss and then outran the rest of the people to the end zone.

Wolfe celebrates after scoring one of his 15 career touchdowns.
AP/Denis Poroy

Thompson: You include yoga in your training regimen. I would imagine that's for flexibility.

Wolfe: Yeah, each and every summer I've taken a yoga class out here at UNLV. I think it's helped me a lot to stay flexible and avoid some of those nagging injuries you can get throughout camp and during the season. I guess it's kind of unheard of since I'm in a class with mostly older women and older men who are just trying to stay fit. But it was good for me to get in there after workouts and do some stretching and to loosen myself up after workouts.

Thompson: You've already received your Bachelor's degree in Kinesiological Studies. That's not a degree that's as common as many others, so explain what that is and what someone could do with that degree.

Wolfe: Kinesiology is the study of the body and human movement. I've taken various classes from basic anatomy and biology to some higher bio-mechanics courses. Coming into college I saw myself becoming a physical therapist or a P.T. technician, but other routes you can go with that major are chiropractor, med school, and other medical fields.

Thompson: You're working on a Master's in Sports Education Leadership. How do you think that's going to help you once your football career has ended.

Wolfe: I was pretty excited that I got through twelve of the thirty units I need for my Master's already. It will allow me to get the gist of teaching and coaching at the next level. I know for the rest of my life I'm going to try and play football, but there's going to come a time when I have to start a new career. I want to try and stay connected to sports and athletics as much as possible when that happens, and that type of major will help me do that.

Thompson: You've got a reputation for being a very business-like guy who also likes routine.

Wolfe: Yeah, that just helps build consistency and the camaraderie of a team. I like to get into my routine early in the season and make sure I'm bringing everyone around me along to make sure we're going in the right direction. Whether it's leading drills in practice or leading film sessions with my teammates during practice or lunchtime, the more time you can spend putting effort into this game, the more you can get out of it.

Thompson: Where that business-like and highly-focused mentality comes from?

Wolfe: I have to give most of the credit to my parents. Growing up they tried to get me into as many different sports as I wanted to play. If I said I didn't like something, I wasn't forced to play, but as a kid I probably played every sport I was allowed to play. The biggest rule was if I was messing up at school or messing up at home or doing things I wasn't supposed to be doing, my punishment was I wasn't allowed to play football, basketball, run track or whatever sport I was playing at the time. It taught me early on to get my priorities straight–-make sure I'm getting good grades and doing things that are positive in the community-–and the reward for doing those things correctly is getting to play on Saturdays.

Thompson: You've drawn comparisons to successful Colts rookie Austin Collie. What similarities do you see between the two of you?

Wolfe: Playing against him the years that I did in the Mountain West Conference, I have an appreciation for what he did at BYU. We're along the same lines physically--about the same height, same build--and we're both able to make those tough catches over the middle. We both have crispness and consistency in our routes, and are able to come up with the ball in various situations whether they be short passes or long passes. I think that's a major connection you can draw between the both of us.

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You can follow Ed Thompson on Twitter (@Ed_Thompson). A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at

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