SALINEVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The Denver Broncos have made the playoffs four straight seasons with valley native Derek Wolfe on the roster. However, he missed Denver’s Super Bowl appearance in 2013 due to injury. This year, he’s healthy…and ready to make his presence felt… with his hometown, and the world watching.
Beaver local grad Derek Wolfe has quickly become of the most versatile and highest paid defensive ends in the NFL. He’s racked up over 100 tackles, and 19 sacks through his first four seasons, anchoring the line for Denver’s top ranked defense. That success, comes as no surprise to his high school coach.
“He’s got an edge to him and he wants to win really really bad and he set this out to be in the NFL,” former Beaver Local and current Southern Head Coach Rich Wright.
As a three-year starter and First-Team All-State selection at Beaver Local, Derek Wolfe had plenty of college interest in high school. But the big time programs like Ohio State wanted him to play on their offensive line. Wolfe saw his future on defense, and the University of Cincinnati was one of the few willing to give him that opportunity.
“Well that’s that edge we talked about,” Wright admitted. “I mean i’ll say it on camera…I thought he was an offensive lineman in the NFL. I thought he could play longer, left tackles make more money, you know playing with your hands, with wrestling and having that balance, but obviously he knows more than me,” said Wright.
Wolfe was selected by the Broncos in the second round, 36th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
“I mean it’s almost unreal. You know and after he gets drafted you’re standing beside him while he’s on the phone with John Elway, and then Peyton Manning calls to welcome him to the team, and even though it’s not part of, but you feel like, I felt important for whatever reason, just to be part of that,” recalled Wright.
Today you’ll find more Broncos fans than ever in his hometown, including Coach Wright’s two young daughters, who spend Sunday’s wearing their own Derek Wolfe jerseys.
“Oh yea, and they watched, and I couldn’t get them to watch me coach a game with running around but they’ll sit in front of the television and watch a pro football game if Derek Wolfe’s playing in it So…it’s great experience for this whole community and I’m proud to know him, but it’s pretty special,” said Wright.