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April 29, 2012
Trevin Wade carries this "two-star" label as a badge of honor and motivation.
After the Cleveland Browns selected the former Arizona cornerback late in the seventh and final round Saturday afternoon at the NFL draft, fans of the organization flocked to Twitter to offer their support. One person asked: What's the story behind the Twitter handle, @TwoStarWade?
That was his Rivals.com rating coming out of Stony Point High School in Round Rock, Texas. Wade drew comparisons between sitting in front of the TV, waiting for his name to flash on the screen, and the time he was recruited to play for the Wildcats.
"I didn't hear from Arizona until three days before Signing Day," Wade told GOAZCATS.com shortly after he was selected. "I was just having the same feelings."
The NFL dream started when he was 6 years old, but Wade said he realized as the years went on that percentages of making it to the league were "pretty low." So, with nothing more than a love for the game, the 5-11, 192-pound defensive back set more realistic short-term goals.
First came high school and the dream of playing at the college level.
"When I got to college, I didn't know what was going to happen," Wade said. "I came in as a redshirt freshman; I was the last person to sign (a letter of intent). I figured: I'll just take on this challenge and see what happens.
"Around my sophomore year I started doing really good, and I was like, 'Maybe you can take this challenge further.'"
It was during that sophomore campaign Wade broke through with 71 tackles, 14 pass deflections, five interceptions, a touchdown and a forced fumble. The performance landed him on the All-Pac-10 Conference second team.
But then came a forgettable junior season, when his numbers dipped drastically all across the board. Wade collected just 47 tackles, three pass deflections and an interception.
So there he was again, presented with another short-term goal and one final season to prove that he had the ability to play on Sundays.
As a team, the Wildcats were among the worst in the nation defensively last season. However, the senior and his little two-star rating shined bright enough to regain his second-team status in the Pac-12. He made 52 tackles, knocked down 13 passes and intercepted a pair of passes.
After a strong performance in workouts, including the NFL Combine, suddenly the lowly rated high school prospect had transformed into second-round NFL draft potential in the eyes of some outlets.
But, alas, there was another bump in the road.
Cornerback after cornerback had been selected - 32 to be exact, including four in the seventh round - and Wade was still waiting. In fact, only Terrence Frederick of Texas A&M was drafted lower, and that was just one spot behind him.
But with the 245th overall pick, the Browns ended the wait for Wade.
"Cleveland, they're coming up and I know I can be part of the transition that's going on with this organization," he said. "I'm just taking it all in and getting ready to move forward with this new lifestyle."
The plan now is to arrive this week in the city he has never visited. Aside from the cold northeast Ohio weather, all Wade said he knew about Cleveland is that there was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and "a place they make motorcycles and cars."
But he will not explore his new home alone - and he'll actually know a few familiar faces. With their two first-round selections, the Browns drafted running back Trent Richardson of Alabama third overall and quarterback Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State with the 22nd pick.
"I thought it was really good," Wade said of the situation. "I trained with Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden (leading up to the draft) and we're really close."
In the secondary, Wade will have to compete against the likes of second-year cornerback Joe Haden, the seventh overall selection in 2010.
So, Wade is now entering the NFL the same way he entered the college ranks - with something to prove and more obstacles in front of him. But those two little stars turned into two big-time labels he can now throw in front of his name: NFL cornerback.
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor
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