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Pre-draft interview with J. Wade ...
Jonathan Wade Interview
Cornerback - Tennessee
By: Tony Conty
Tony Conty: How was the reaction from those in Shreveport to your decision to go to Tennessee?
Jonathan Wade: It wasn't that bad, actually, considering how intense things are in SEC country.
Tony Conty: Did you expect so many players to run sub-4.4 40s this year at The Combine?
Jonathan Wade: Well, the game is changing. It's all about size and speed. You never used to see guys as big as Calvin Johnson and Robert Meachem running that fast. I didn't know how many there would be, but I knew that there would be fast people, because there were a lot last year.
Tony Conty: As a track athlete, specializing in the 60, 100, and 200, did you feel added pressure to produce good times at the Combine?
Jonathan Wade: I wouldn't say added pressure. Running a 100 and running a 40 are totally different. On the 40, you just have to come out smoking. Well, I guess I was just blessed to be fast.
Tony Conty: Did you ever doubt that you were going to be a two-sport athlete?
Jonathan Wade: I knew that I would do both, but eventually I would stick with football. It has always been my true love. I was willing to split time, but, by my Senior Year, I wanted to concentrate on becoming as good as I could. I still have a lot of growing to do.
Tony Conty: Did you have a preference at first between WR and CB?
Jonathan Wade: Actually I hoped to play both, but I got hurt as a sophomore and that put a damper on things. I feel more comfortable at corner and play more naturally, so I was able to go without the Wide Receiver position.
Tony Conty: What did you do to prepare for the combine and your ridiculous vertical jump, improving greatly from when you came to Tennessee?
Jonathan Wade: That's the funny thing. I asked my trainer if we did anything to prepare for the vertical and he said, "You have no clue". I mean, we have jumped with weights before, but that's more about explosion. The times listed for me coming out of high school were very incorrect, but I never had a serious vertical test. I will say that I have bulked up. I was only 164 when I got here and, at one point, I was up to 200.
Tony Conty: You received one of the most improved player awards in early 2006. What helped you make those strides?
Jonathan Wade: Just remaining focused and giving all of myself for the team. I think that I greatly improved my work ethic and had a significant focus shift. My coaches helped me grow into a young man and I was able to pick things up at a rapid pace.
Tony Conty: Do you think that too much stock is placed in combine performances?
Jonathan Wade: No...they can help more than it can hurt. Sometimes, though, if you can play, you can play. The Combine just gives you a chance to solidify yourself as an outstanding athlete and some guys will just jump out at you. The position drills are really good to see how you look in certain situations. The 40, well, unless you're streaking down the sidelines, you don't usually run 40 yards in a straight line. The mental things are important, too, at The Combine. You see some people breaking down from the pressure. You must enjoy yourself. I enjoyed myself.
Tony Conty: What coaches and coaching staffs impressed you at the combine? Which teams seemed to be impressed with you?
Jonathan Wade: The New York Jets had a very interesting interview. People were nervous about it, but I had found out about it beforehand. A lot of teams just sat you down and showed you film. It makes you wonder, you know, "What do they have of me?". Seriously, it's too early to tell what teams are interested in me. Soon, you'll start knowing a little more, if you see coaches show up to your Pro Day.
Tony Conty: How did the Volunteers feel about their season? You may have been capable of more, but you were in the most difficult conference.
Jonathan Wade: We felt...well, I'd be lying if I said that we weren't disappointed. We turned in a good season, though; we grew as a team. We grew into a family. Between the 2005 Volunteers and the 2006 Volunteers, there was a "humongous" difference.
Tony Conty: Your best game as an individual was against Florida, with 5 tackles and a pick. Did you give you something to hang your hat on, losing to the eventual National Champions by one?
Jonathan Wade: No. The game's not about me. I was probably the most disappointed person on the field. I didn't know my numbers. Every time we lose, I think of what more I could have done. I take it personally and feel as if I should have and could have done more.
Tony Conty: You have had a variety of injuries in your collegiate career. How healthy are you now?
Jonathan Wade: I heard that from someone else, too. I only injured my shoulder for a few games. Otherwise, I've been fine.
Tony Conty: Who was the toughest receiver that you faced in your collegiate career?
Jonathan Wade: Aside from my teammates, Jayson (Swain) and Robert (Meachem), because we knew each other so well, I'd say Maurice Stovall. He is big and physical. He was the complete Wide Receiver. From blocking to running routes, he takes pride in everything that he does.
Tony Conty: What do you bring to a team that sets you apart from the other corners?
Jonathan Wade: I am exciting. I feel that I can really help, on and off-the-field. I'll do whatever the team needs. If you tell me to block a Nose Guard, I'll strap on a chin strap and have some fun. I always have fun playing and I want everyone to have fun. If everyone is having fun, everything's going the way it should go.
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