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Wade waits for another UO chance

Local prep star, now in an Arizona JC, still wants to be a Duck
by: L.E. BASKOW, Myles Wade regrets bold predictions he made about his career at the Les Schwab Bowl last year. “It looks like I was too much into myself,” he says. “I was speaking out of confidence, but people saw it as cockiness.”

Portland's Myles Wade spent the past 4 1/2 months in the desert city of Yuma, Ariz., playing football, going to community college, working out and generally adapting to life after high school.

'I hadn't seen rain until I got back here,' says Wade, who returned to his hometown for the holiday break from Arizona Western College.

The heat was hard to get used to.

'But it helped me shave off a couple of pounds,' he says.

Wade prepped at Benson and Central Catholic and hoped to be playing college football at Oregon this season. But he didn't qualify academically.

The Ducks recommended that he go to Arizona Western to get his two-year associate of arts degree.

By January 2009, Wade expects to have the degree in hand, and then 'I'm definitely going to be a Duck again.'

He would have to sign another letter of intent with Oregon, but he hopes to enroll in Eugene for winter term 2009.

This year has been a growing period for Wade. A couple of days before the Les Schwab Bowl, the annual high-school all-star summer game at PGE Park, Wade predicted that he would notch at least three sacks in the game and would be starting at Oregon by midseason.

Well, things happen. He played well in the Les Schwab Bowl, but didn't have a sack. And, the night of the game, he found out he had not qualified academically for Oregon.

Wade says that while he confidently made those pregame comments to the Portland Tribune, 'it looks like I was too much into myself -I was speaking out of confidence, but people saw it as cockiness. And I would like to apologize to everybody for that.'

He learned a lesson: 'I'm not trying to be cocky, but being a 'high-profile person,' you've got to watch what you say compared to the average Joe.'

As far as having to go the junior college route, 'obviously, I was pretty upset, but everything happens for a reason, good and bad,' he says. 'Being down there and away, it made me grow up. I'm no longer in high school. I'm a college football player.

'We put our trust in Oregon, because they said they would come back down to get me,' he adds, saying that UO defensive line coach Michael Gray has a good relationship with Arizona Western coach James Pryor. 'I'm keeping my word as long as they keep their word.'

Wade says other schools have showed interest in him already, namely LSU and some Pac-10 schools.

He made the junior college all-region second-team, notching 54 tackles (five solo), with 3 1/2 sacks. Wade took over at one defensive tackle spot in the second game and started the next eight for the Matadors (2-8).

More important, Wade expects to attain about a 3.0 grade-point average in his first college term.

Not much else to do in the desert, he says, except study.

'People think I'm square,' Wade says. '(Friends) want me to hang out, but I see guys not going to class … and we were sent down here because we couldn't get grades. I just want to get my grades and get out.

'I'm not a party person, and I don't hang out with that crowd. Some people call me antisocial, but I just like to hang out by myself. I'm not into doing negative things.'

Wade, who bench-presses 480 pounds and leg-presses about 600, says he and some buddies clocked one another in the 40-yard dash. His time, he says: 4.87 seconds. The combination of strength and speed is what prompted UO coach Mike Bellotti to once call the 6-2, 320-pound Wade one of the country's most physically gifted prep defensive tackles.

But Wade and Simi Fili, another Duck defensive tackle recruit who played at Eastern Arizona College, are having to take a circuitous route to Eugene.

'Some people need different motivations,' Wade says. 'It makes me work harder.'

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