Former Middletown, Boston College quarterback Wade aims to shine as Blue Hen

Delaware is hoping that Darius Wade can be one of the answers for a quarterback position that has been plagued by inconsistency for several seasons. (Photos courtesy of Boston College Athletics)

NEWARK — There’s a part of Darius Wade that will always wonder, ‘What if?’

Things were just starting to take off for the former Middletown High star quarterback in the fall of 2015.

Only a sophomore, he’d earned the starting job at Boston College.

Then, just three games into the season, Wade broke his left ankle in a game against No. 9 Florida State.

In that instant, the youngster’s entire football future changed.

“It’s hard not to (wonder),” said Wade. “It was just frustrating seeing how the rest of my career turned out after the fact.

“It is frustrating to think, all right, well if I continued to play, we wouldn’t have been 3-9, I could have continued to develop and get better. I definitely could see that my career could have played out a lot differently at BC.

“However, that’s life,” he concluded. “I’m fully aware I can’t do anything about it now. All I can do is move forward and take advantage of my new opportunities that present themselves. That’s exactly what I intend to do.”

For Wade, that opportunity is at Delaware.

Now a fifth-year senior, he’ll start his first spring practice with the Blue Hens today.

Delaware is hoping that Wade can be one of the answers for a quarterback position that has been plagued by inconsistency for several seasons.

One of the things second-year coach Danny Rocco said he likes about Wade is that he’s a veteran of quarterback competitions. Delaware still has a returning starter in J.P. Caruso, a veteran backup in Pat Kehoe and an up-and-coming QB in Smyrna High grad Nolan Henderson.

“Playing this sport, you have to be a competitor,” said Wade. “And that’s exactly what I am. I have no issue with competing. That’s why I stayed my whole four years at Boston College.

“I’m just going into it with the mindset that wherever they start me off, that’s where they start me off. By the end of it, I’m going to make sure that I prove to the coaches — as well as my teammates — that I do deserve to be the guy.”

Certainly, Wade is an older and wiser person than the kid who showed up at BC four years ago.

Wade admits that life was pretty good to him at Middletown. He started all four years for the Cavaliers, played in the Division I state championship game every season and never suffered a serious injury.

But things were much different at Boston College.

Wade ended up starting six games for the Eagles, completing 95-of-171 passes for 1,091 yards and five TDs. After he got injured, BC brought in a fifth-year transfer from Kentucky, Patrick Towles, who took over the starting job in 2016.

“Going to college and seeing the world for what it is. … the politics involved in football and how quickly your season can be over due to injury … experiencing that, I feel, has definitely matured me so much more,” said Wade.

“And going against some of these top-tier teams in the ACC and having to learn about these variety of defenses and variety of offenses — having three offensive coordinators at BC — I just felt like mentally, my capacity to learn and be a good quarterback has definitely heightened since high school,”

With the Hens, Wade will be working under new quarterback coach Alex Wood, the former James Madison head coach as well as a former NFL assistant.

Delaware has had one of the least-productive passing offenses in NCAA Division I FCS for the last three seasons. Last fall the Hens were ranked 117th out of 123 teams at an average of 124.5 passing yards per game.

But, while he’s known as a dual-threat QB, the 6-foot, 220-pound Wade said he can throw as much as Delaware needs him to.

“I feel like I’m definitely a passer first,” said Wade. “If I wanted to run, then I would have just become a running back. … When I’m in the pocket, I’m always looking to make a throw.”

There’s a sense of coming full circle for Wade.

Delaware was the first school to offer him a scholarship. Former Blue Hen coach K.C. Keeler offered Wade when he was only a sophomore at Middletown.
Being back in his home state, Wade has seen a lot of familiar faces that he hasn’t seen in a while.

When he left for Boston, Wade said he wanted to play for a major-college program and live in a big city.

“I wanted to branch out,” he said. “The good thing is, I’ve accomplished that. I did enjoy it but I did realize I’m not much of a city boy. I’m happy to be back.

“When UD offered me (in high school), I pretty much already put it in the back of my mind, if things don’t go well at the D-IA level, I know that I’d have no problem coming back home and finishing out my career here as a Blue Hen.”

Extra points

The Hens are slated to hold the first of their 15 spring practice sessions today at 2:45 p.m. … Delaware announced on Monday that its 2018 Homecoming game will be on Oct. 27 against Towson with its Parents/Family Weekend contest on Oct. 13 against Elon.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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