EAST LIVERPOOL -Derek Wolfe is a prime example of what one can accomplish with a little hard work.
Wolfe, who was selected in the Second Round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, made a trip to East Liverpool High School Wednesday to talk to kids about a variety of topics.
Wolfe talked about the role wrestling played in his football career, and he also took the time to answer some questions.
Derek Wolfe of the Denver Broncos talks with a group of students Wednesday while visiting East Liverpool High School. Students pictured include (from left) Brent Waggle, Kade Reynolds, Jimmy Lisk and D.J. Austin. (Photo by Jimmy Joe Savage)
"Coach (John) Drumm and myself contacted Derek, and asked if he would come up to the high school and speak," East Liverpool head wrestling coach Chad Hager said. "There were a lot of kids there who are playing football or who are thinking about playing football, and he let them know how important wrestling was for him as a background sport for football.
"You can pick up a lot of things from wrestling for football. You can learn a lot from wrestling that will help you with football. Wrestling is very beneficial for football and for other sports for that matter."
Wolfe spent a lot of time in the area in the weeks prior to the draft and in the weeks after the draft.
"The kids were really happy to see him," Hager said. "They were excited to meet someone from the area that made something of themselves like Derek did with going into the NFL.
"After he was done speaking, Derek stuck around and answered questions. A lot of the kids asked him questions. One question Derek was asked was, 'How did you get to where you are at?' Derek answered, 'With hard work. With hard work, you can achieve your goal.' I think that was a great thing to tell the kids.
"It is really great for Derek to come back around. It was nice that he came up to the high school here in East Liverpool. I know he went to Beaver Local, but he cares about the kinds in general in the area. I'm just really glad he was able to come back.
"Also, I am fortunate that Coach Drumm and I got to coach him through high school at Beaver Local."
Wolfe worked hard during his time at Beaver Local.
"Derek was a hard worker at Beaver Local," Hager said. "You could really tell. His senior year he grew three or four inches in height, and he added about 35 pounds. You could tell he was a lot stronger. He worked hard.
"He finished fifth in the state in wrestling as a senior. Football was his main sport. He wrestled to help himself get better at football. He was lifting weights. He was working with a lifting coach. For him to finish fifth in the state with all of that and everything else going on at Beaver Local was impressive.
"I figured he would do something special. I didn't know about the NFL. I'm glad to see it work out for him. I hope he is a long and successful career."
Denver opens the season at home against Pittsburgh.
"It would have been nice if they were playing in Pittsburgh, so I could have gone and seen him play," Hager said. "Since they are playing Pittsburgh, I will get to see the game on TV anyway."
In the past couple of months, Wolfe has made trips throughout the county. Hager said he would like to see Wolfe come back when he has the opportunity to return to the area.
"I would like to see him come back," Hager said. "I know he has a busy schedule now. He has got to meet with trainers. I don't know if he is going to do any endorsements. He is doing all kids of stuff.
"It was really great for the kids for him to come back. It was really great. I hope that he will come back."
Josh Stansbury, a local MMA fighter, also spoke to the kids Wednesday.
"Josh Stansbury is an East Liverpool graduate, and he came in today and spoke," Hager said. "He talked about how wrestling has impacted MMA. MMA has become very popular in the area. He talked about how wrestling helps him train and fight in MMA.
"It was nice he came back also with Derek. A wrestling background helps you in MMA.
"I know Josh has a title fight at Mountaineer in late June or early July. I'm really excited for him. I hope he does well."