Garrett Wolfe is Chicago’s native son. The Austin Native attended Fenwick High School at Oak Park, prior to transferring to Holy Cross in River Grove. Wolfe took three separate buses daily from this rough inner city neighborhood to attend class and perform athletically at this suburban Roman Catholic private school. G. – Wolfe was to then set every significant rushing record at Holy Cross before being recruited to Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, IL in 2003.
Certainly, no football pundit could have foreseen that Wolfe would actually go on to surpass the career legacy of teammate Michael “The Burner” Turner at N.I.U.
Wolfe languished on the bench as a freshman – ninth on the depth chart at running back. Garrett Wolfe was to work his way into the starting role at Northern and never relinquished the position over the next three years. The diminutive playmaker emerged as a YouTube sensation, electrifying crowds with his patented speed, balance, and quickness.
Garrett Wolfe was to finish his college career with 5,136 yards rushing, 52 touchdowns, and a gaudy 6.5 yards per carry average. Wolfe led the Nation in rushing with 1,928 yards as a senior. I would argue that his September 2, 2006 performance at Columbus versus the number – one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes is the statement game that introduced the football world to Garrett Wolfe.
The Mighty Buckeyes refused to alter their base defense to challenge this small school product. Of course, this speedster galloped for 171 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards to resoundingly torch Ohio State. Garrett Wolfe dominated the Bucks at the Horseshoe for 285 total yards.
Still, legitimate concerns regarding durability, size, and toughness, marred the 5’7 185 pound running back’s stock. Garrett Wolfe slipped to the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft before the hometown Chicago Bears came calling with the 93rdoverall selection.
Garrett Wolfe, Chicago Bears Running Back Scouting Report
Garrett Wolfe is a situational, third-down back and special teams player at the NFL Level.
Wolfe, 24, has shown flashes of his game changing abilities with the Chicago Bears. This running back is typically used on draw plays, outside pitches, screen passes, and flares out of the backfield. Wolfe is also a capable return man, fielding 20 kickoffs for an average of 20 yards per return during 2008. The special teams maven recorded 15 solo tackles on this unit, which is remarkable for a man that is usually the smallest athlete on the field.
Wolfe is the Chicago Bears #1 special teams gunner. The gunner is the most thankless job in the NFL as these gladiators converge downfield from both sides of the punt formation, while being bludgeoned, tripped, scraped, and roughed up for 40 yards of physical combat.
Garrett Wolfe has made a name for himself as a scat back, change-of-pace type of player. He has thrived amidst training camp and preseason competition. However, last year’s late-season hamstring injury shut him down for the final three games of the 2008 Chicago Bears schedule. This kid always seems to be one arm tackle away from breaking the big one as a pro.
Garrett Wolfe, Chicago Bears Running Back Must Battle for Touches
Chicago Bears brass had intimated that Garrett Wolfe would have the opportunity to get the call behind Matt Forte as the second running back within the stable. However, Lovie Smith’s words that Wolfe would get “first crack” at #2 arrived well before the March 6 2-year contract extension of Kevin Jones.
Garrett Wolfe must battle for touches.
Offensively, his numbers have actually decreased from his rookie season. Wolfe toted the rock 15 times as a ball carrier in 2008 for his 4.6 yards per carry average and a meager 69 yards. G. Wolfe’s 2008 statistics pale in comparison to his rookie campaign, in which he received 40 touches as a rusher and pass-catcher.
The third-stringer’s role has been limited due to his lack of power and inability to pick up the blitz. Wolfe weighs 186 pounds and has been a liability in terms of blocking charging linebackers and defensive ends into the pocket. The opposition effectively keys on Wolfe, aware that he is unable to protect the quarterback.
Inserting Wolfe into the game either telegraphs “pass,” or is an open invitation for defensive coordinators to put together blitz packages, overload Wolfe’s side of the line of scrimmage, and simply bowl this little man over.
Of course, Garrett Wolfe has been proving the naysayers wrong throughout his entire football career.
Remember, the electric Darren Sproles, the shortest player in the NFL measures 5’6 and 185 pounds. Sproles recorded 8 carries as a rookie and sat out his entire 2006 season due to a preseason ankle injury. This Kansas native bid his time behind a stacked Pro Bowl backfield of LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner before his 2008 breakout season and playoff performance.
Darren Sproles rumbled for 150 total yards versus the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round to lead the Chargers to victory. San Diego has promptly rewarded Sproles with the franchise tag and 2009 guaranteed $6.6 million salary.
Could Garrett Wolfe ultimately emerge as Chicago’s very own version of Darren Sproles?
Garrett Wolfe, Chicago Bears Running Back Profile and Scouting Report, Sources:
The Official Web Site of the NFL, http://www.nfl.com/
The Official Web Site of the Chicago Bears, http://www.chicagobears.com/index.html
NFL.com, Garrett Wolfe Profile, http://www.nfl.com/players/garrettwolfe/profile?id=WOL317455