Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — The early hours in the gym, the extra hours in the weight room, the little things nobody sees … all of that has finally paid off for Waverly senior Easton Wolf.
Wolf, one of the most dynamic wide receivers in southern Ohio, hit a target this past weekend — one he’s been aiming at for quite some time.
On Twitter, Wolf announced his commitment to continue his academic and football careers at Southern Illinois University, a Division I-AA program located in Carbondale, Illinois.
But without hard work and those little things nobody sees, that announcement would’ve never been possible.
“It just shows how, with hard work, you can achieve what you put your mind to. I had a goal entering high school to be able to play Division I football in college,” Wolf said. “Many people doubted me from afar, so I just put in all the extra work to achieve my goal.”
Wolf had multiple collegiate offers on the table. What catapulted SIU over the rest was a sense of comfortability and recent changes within the program.
SIU head coach Nick Hill has added linebackers coach Spencer Brown (North Carolina State), defensive line coach Chuka Ndulue (Nebraska) and defensive coordinator Jason Petrino (Rocky Mountain) to the Salukis’ coaching staff.
“Right when I got on campus for my official visit, I felt right at home. The facilities are top notch and I felt wanted by the coaching staff,” Wolf said. “The program is definitely on the verge of breaking through as they have added some big-time coaches.”
This past fall, Wolf gave the Tigers 59 catches for 1,196 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense while adding 84 tackles and two interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
Those types of numbers, as well as a trait you can’t teach, are exactly why SIU wanted him.
“Toughness would have to be my best on-field trait,” Wolf said. “I have battled through pesky injuries for half of my football career and just pushed through them.”
Looking back on his four years with the Tigers, Wolf has his fingerprints on almost every win. But there’s one victory he says he’ll remember above all the others.
“One of my most memorable games was against Fairland my senior year. We were only up by three at halftime, but I found that extra gear to help us get the W,” he said. “I had one of my best games statistically that game with 230 receiving yards, two touchdowns and 12 tackles.”
Wolf now joins a program that finished just 2-9 this past fall. The Salukis play within the Missouri Valley Football Conference and against the likes of North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Indiana State and Northern Iowa.
Wolf plans to major in finance with a focus on investments upon his arrival on campus. He’s announced Feb. 6 as his official signing date.
As he gets ready to write the next chapter in his career, and in his life, the main characters that have always been there for him will certainly stay in place.
“My family means the world ro me,” Wolf said. “They are huge supporters. Many of my friends, teammates, coaches and members of the community have shown a tremendous amount of support as well. I’m thankful for that.”