CATEGORY: FOC College Football
HED:Wade big enough to anchor Ole Miss’ offensive line
By Todd Vinyard
OXFORD – Todd Wade had a hard time gaining weight during his high school days at Jackson Prep. He was always growing taller.
During the past four years, though, the Ole Miss offensive lineman has grown taller and bulked up. Wade has added an inch and 35 pounds to reach 6-foot-7 1/2 and 315 pounds heading into his senior year.
“Hopefully, I have finished, or I’ll have to take up another sport,” the Rebels’ starting right tackle jokes. “You have to have that size to be competitive in the Southeastern Conference. Now I’m working on the right technique and leverage. I put the weight on right. I’m not in any rush to gain anymore weight.”
Wade’s transformation wasn’t overnight. Year-by-year he grew stronger and smarter as a player. He had a strict off-season running and weight lifting program trying to keep a reasonable growth tempo. All the work has led Wade to being named first team preseason All-SEC by Athlon and rated the No. 8 offensive tackle in the nation by the Lindy’s.
After coaching hime for less than a year, offensive line coach John Latina, who came to Ole Miss with new head coach David Cutcliffe, says Wade is as hard-working a player as he has seen.
“Todd never has any valleys, he is constantly trying to make it up those peaks,” Latina said. “He’s become a great football player. He’s a senior, and I wish he was going to be a freshman or sophomore and be here for a long time.”
Wade thinks this could be the best Ole Miss offensive line in a long time.
“Talent-wise, I believe we’re the best, but we have to keep working together,” the two-year starter said. “You have to work as a unit to be a good offensive line. All summer and all spring we’ve been working, because one error or mess up will break down the line. We try to be as consistent as possible.”
Wade remains focused on this season even with talk of a professional football career in the future.
“It’s good to hear and it gives you a little pride about yourself, but you have to think about this year,” he said.
This year Wade continues to live a family tradition of playing at Ole Miss. His father Luther lettered as a fullback at Ole Miss in 1970 and 1971, and his grandfather also played for the Rebels. When Todd leaves his brother Justin, a freshman linebacker, will take over in Oxford.
Justin has benefited from having his older brother around.
“We sit around and talk after practice at night and do different things,” Justin said. “It’s good to look at him and remember if you work hard now you can be the best at your position later.”