When Trevin Wade arrived on campus at the University of Arizona, it wasn’t long before he earned a nickname that would stick with him throughout his collegiate career.
“Two Star” is what the Arizona coaching staff and players came to call Wade, a 5-foot-10, 192-pound cornerback who took offense to being rated only a two-star prospect coming out of Stony Point High School in Round Rock, Texas.
“Two Star, he always played with a chip on his shoulder,” said former Wildcats defensive backs coach Ryan Walters, who now is on staff at Oklahoma as a graduate assistant. “And when he plays that way, he’s at his best. All you have to do is watch tape and see he makes plays when he’s motivated.”
Wade, the Browns’ seventh-round selection (245th overall), had his best season at Arizona as a sophomore. He had 71 tackles and five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and earned first-team All-Pacific 10 honors. As a freshman, Wade had four interceptions.
But as the accolades began to roll in after his first two impressive seasons, that extra edge that had always seemed to make him work so hard to prove the naysayers wrong began to disappear.
Walters said Wade allowed his early success to get to his head. That, Walters said, coupled with leg and shoulder injuries as well as some personal problems, led to an unproductive junior season.
“He’d done so well his first two years with nine interceptions, everybody started listing him first-team this and that and he might have gotten a little complacent,” Walters said.
Wade used his unimpressive junior year as motivation for his senior season.
“In the beginning of my junior year, in the third game, I got a right thigh contusion,” Wade said in a conference call after the draft. “I struggled from there but I just kept playing and played through it. When I was healthy the next year, I just made sure I was the top player that I am for my team.”
Wade went on to be named second-team all conference after registering 52 tackles, 13 passes broken up and two interceptions.
“People said he couldn’t play anymore and he came out and had a great senior year,” Walters said. “He showed he’s a very instinctual player with great ball skills. He’s very competitive and really, really smart. He does a lot of work in the film room and can anticipate routes on the run, which is why he was able to get his hands on so many balls throughout his career. He also has really good lateral movement, is a lot stronger than people think he is and can play at the nickel or corner spots.”
But the natural high that came with doing so well as a senior didn’t last very long. Despite Wade improving his speed in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and further impressing scouts with quick feet that led to a 4.04 short shuttle time, he still fell to the seventh round of the NFL Draft.
“I thought he was going to go a little higher,” Walters said. “I thought he ran well at the combine, which was a concern for some teams. But he worked hard and got that 40 time down to 4.53. But him falling to the seventh round might help him in the long run. It might make him feel like he’s got something to prove.”
If that’s the case, Wade could begin working his way into nickel and dime packages with the Browns (as he did in college) as soon as rookie minicamp starts on Friday.
“My entire junior year I played [in] nickel and dime packages,” Wade said. “I also blitzed, so I had to be in the run game and we did different types of coverages, so I am experienced at the nickel position.”
Wade sounded confident when he described himself on draft day, sending notice to the league that the chip is right where it belongs on his shoulder.
“I’m smart, I have great ball skills and I can anticipate things that are coming, so I don’t miss a lot of tackles,” he said. “I’m trying to bring a new, all-around cornerback to the Cleveland Browns.”
Browns coach Pat Shurmur will serve as the keynote speaker May 18 during a luncheon at the Maronite Center in Youngstown.
In addition to Shurmur, Browns offensive lineman John Greco, a Youngstown native, will attend the event. Browns radio play-by-play man Jim Donovan will emcee the luncheon.
Registration and networking are scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. The program is set to run from noon-1 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber’s website: http://regionalchamber.com. Reservations are required by Monday.
The event in Youngstown is the second “Football Friday” luncheon the Browns will host as part of their regional marketing outreach initiatives.
The first luncheon will be Friday at the University of Akron’s Student Union Ballroom. Browns President Mike Holmgren will serve as the keynote speaker, and tight end Benjamin Watson will attend.
Registration and networking for the event at UA are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with lunch served at 11:30 a.m. Holmgren is set to speak at 11:45 a.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the Greater Akron Chamber’s website: http://www.greaterakronchamber.org.
Browns cut linebacker
The Browns cut linebacker Brian Smith, a league source confirmed Tuesday for the Beacon Journal. The Browns have yet to announce the move.
Smith spent training camp with the Browns last summer as an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame. He was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 29 and then to the active roster on Dec. 20. He appeared in the Browns’ final two games last season in a reserve role.
The move was made in part to clear room for the 15 undrafted free agents whom the Browns are in the process of signing. Once those signings become official, the Browns will meet the offseason roster limit of 90 players, which includes the team’s 11 recent draft picks. The Browns could announce their undrafted free-agent signings as early as today.
— Nate Ulrich
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.