Xavier Wade: Football, Family, and Adversity

At 6’3 255 pounds, Xavier Wade might be considered “undersized” for an interior defensive lineman. If you were to tell him that, he would just use your words as firewood to the already burning fire. Wade has a fire that has been burning since he left high school as recruiters would look over him like a local newspaper on their welcome mat. So, he took a blind leap of faith and landed on his own two feet at San Diego Mesa College.
As an Olympian, he has grown as a player, man, and became a father to a beautiful baby girl named Za’Veha Nicole Marie Wade. He credits becoming a father has changed him immensely as he went from being individualistic to having more of a collectivistic approach. Xavier talks about his daughter and her mother, Marveha Ward, in such a positive light.
“Raising Za’Veha with her mother, Marveha, is also a blessing. We can’t believe that we have created our own family. She’s really helpful as well. We work day in and day out to give Za’Veha the perfect life, nothing less. We also want to give her what we didn’t have, which is both parents together, throughout her childhood,” said Wade glowingly.
Playing football at the JUCO level can be mentally draining. The players don’t get the luxury of getting stipends like players do at the division 1 level. They aren’t on meal plans either so a lot of times they are struggling to feed their bodies. Basically, playing football at the JUCO level is like having a Mercedes Benz CLA-250 and not being able to put gas in it. Maybe not that luxurious, but you get the point. He talked about having to balance a multitude of things.
Wade said the main objective is to stay focused as a lot of guys lose focus because they aren’t getting the recognition they feel they deserve on a recruiting level. That is easier said than done and he knows as he has faced a few bumps on the road. Wade lost his job, football season, and had Za’Veha in a series of events that tested his mental fortitude. However, he never folded, and football became an outlet for him.
Football is therapeutic as it is a sanctuary, a safe-haven, or even a source of relief for some guys as opposed to a mundane avenue some may treat it like. For Wade, football keeps his head from falling off and continues to shape him as a man. When he steps on the field, its electric for him as he feels charged up and ready to go.
He has spent the last two seasons at San Diego Mesa playing for the Olympians. Last season, he had 49 tackles, 2.5 sacks, nine tackle for losses, four blocked kicks, two interceptions, and two pass breakups. That is a lot of activity for a guy that plays defensive end and tackle. He is simply an athlete at his position with active hands in the passing game that disrupt throwing lanes. That art that he has perfected translates to special teams as he can block kicks. Despite being undersized, he gets up-field in a hurry as he can’t be blocked and stops the run. Wade is a student of the game as he watches film and sees plays before they happen. He also plays with a chip on his shoulder one that is not going away any time soon.
Wade understands that he is strong, but his greatest advantage lies in his first two steps as he believes they are faster than most at his position. He knows that he is nowhere near a finished product and wants to get better at every juncture in his game. He models his game after Derek Barnett too as they both wore the same number in college.
Behind every good football player there lies an even better supporter. Xavier gets a great deal of support from Marveha, but also his mother.
“My biggest supporter has been my mom she has been there for me since I was playing Pop Warner for the Balboa Raiders. Everyday, she would watch my practices and of course my games on the weekend,” he stated. “In high school, she didn’t miss one game for four years straight in any condition. She was pregnant with my little brother Keelin during my senior year.”
With that support and commitment to him, he has had the confidence to stick with his dreams of making it big in football. Wade is on the verge of going D1 with offers from San Jose State, Kentucky, Oregon State, and Villanova. He is relishing the opportunity because so many people doubted and glossed over him. He wants them to see what they created by overlooking him.
In the classroom, Wade has the right mindset as he realizes school is just as important as playing ball. He understands that football will not last forever and is studying Kinesiology, the study of body movement. He would like to still be around football in some capacity when he stops playing and believes a career around his major would be a nice segway.
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