Druid Hills’ Joel Wade playing with a chip on his shoulder

ATLANTA – There are many players that suit up every week for many schools and programs with hopes and dreams to reach the next stage, however one player has much to prove in his senior year.

Friday nights are where you can find Druid Hills Red Devil athlete Joel Wade, lining up on the offense, defense or even special teams. Wade has had a long road throughout his football career that he’s not afraid to admit or talk about.

Even his head coach talks about the road that Wade has taken to this point of his career. Wade is unknown to anyone who’s been following Druid Hills football for some time, because of a number of reasons.

Druid Hills head coach Rosaria Rice said after the game against Luella that Wade is one of the teams better athletes.

“He’s one of the better playmakers we got. It’s the off the field, stuff that we’re trying to work on. If he can get that squared away too, he’s probably one of the better guys in the county, probably nationally,” Rice said. “No one knows about him, because he hasn’t been eligible until this year. This is a big year for him. He has the opportunity to go play on Sundays. He just has to work on that mentality.”

Working on that mentality has been his goal, prior to the game against Luella, Wade only recovered three fumbles. Three interceptions of the quarterback quickly drew the eyes of his ability.

“I worked hard all summer and all spring I worked hard before I was able to get on the field.” Wade said. “When I was ineligible I was working hard. During the summer I was kicked off the team for some school things and even though I was kicked off the team I was at the home stadium working. When the team was at practice, I wasn’t with them but they still came over with me after practice and they’d practice with me. They supported me and I still have a lot of support. My coaches, friends and family members, everyone, they always help me. I’m grateful for that so I gotta show out for them and do my best for them.”

The troubles that Wade experienced in the earlier stage of his career has left a hunger in him to perform. A desire to chase what has eluded him to this point, however, there was a period in time where Wade wasn’t going to be considered a starter for the Red Devils.

While he was out of commission due to his off-field issues, Wade learned that football is a business.

“This is a business, you’ve gotta do your job. If you don’t do your job the next person will be up,” Wade said. “When I was kicked off the team my whole mood changed, everything changed. I had to get my job back because that’s the way you get paid. That’s the way you eat.”

Wade hasn’t had any looks through this point of the season, but he hopes to pick up offers to continue his career after high school.

“Three interceptions this game, four interceptions next game,” Wade said of his goals. “And a return.”

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