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Kallen Wade: Cincinnati native learns new defensive positions

Barrick Bollman | Friday, November 20, 2009

While he might not be as well known as some of his other Fighting Irish teammates, senior Kallen Wade has been just as important of a contributor. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker hails from Cincinnati, Ohio. In his prep career, Wade started at safety before moving to defensive end and defensive tackle.

While in high school, Wade was selected to participate in the prestigious Big 33 Ohio/Pennsylvania All-Star Game, which counts NFL greats like Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Ben Roethlisberger and Marvin Harrison as alumni. Wade became the fourth recruit in Irish coach Charlie Weis’ first full recruiting class. 

Wade chose Notre Dame for its location in relation to Cincinnati.

“My mother had health problems, so I wanted to be close enough to home so I could getback if anything happened, but also far enough away to be able to separate home life from school.” Wade said. “Also, Notre Dame offered the best of both worlds when it came to athletics and academics.”

Wade has spent most of his Notre Dame career at either defensive end or outside linebacker, changing positions as the Irish switched between the 3-4 and 4-3 defensive fronts.

“It was a little awkward at first because I never played linebacker before, but I played sort of defensive end and outside linebacker at the same time,” Wade said about his position switch. “I was able to adapt to being in coverage more because of what I did as a sophomore in high school at safety.”

After redshirting his freshman year, Wade saw his first playing time against Georgia Tech in 2007. Since then, he has played in reserve roles and on special teams. While his action may be limited on the field, Wade has made an impact on the practice field, preparing the front line players for the week’s games.

“My main role is to show a look for the starters, like Sam Young and Paul Duncan,” Wade said. “Basically, I try to mimic whatever team we are about to play that week and go as hard as I can to try and make them a better player and have the best preparation they can get.”

Wade suffered a fracture-dislocation of his ankle during his junior year that required four months of recovery. Through a persistent effort in the recovery process, he was able to participate in the spring game ahead of schedule. 

While Wade has many favorite Notre Dame moments, he considers the 2009 season as a whole the best part of his career.

“It has been remarkable how we have come back from where we were two seasons ago to be the team we are today,” he said. “It’s great to be part of it.”

Another one of Wade’s favorite parts of his Notre Dame experience has been the camaraderie of the team.

“The whole unity of the team is great,” he said. “I feel like this has been the most we’ve ever clicked as a team.”

Even though football is a huge time constraint, Kallen applies himself in the classroom as well. He is a double major in psychology and computer applications. In the spring semester of 2008, he carried a 3.33 GPA.