Sunday, August 03, 2008
Waldie Welcomes the Challenge
When I went to Hillsdale, I spent my summer life guarding at a pool that very few people actually visited. It was perfect; start work at 10, eat sunflower seeds, invent your own version of homerun derby with a broken umbrella post and a tennis ball, and glance at the occasional piece of scenery that would always...oh enough of that. A lot of summer jobs are like that, or at least used to be like that. Charger wide receiver and last year's NCAA Division II football leader in touchdown catches (18) Aaron Waldie has taken a different route for his sales internship. Waldie is selling cars this summer in the pre-owned section of a Toledo Volkswagen dealership.
"I am learning a lot," Aaron says. "Some of the guys I work with are the typical used car salesman if you know what I mean. I am nothing like that. It is tough, but you pick up things that work with your own personality."
Waldie found something that worked last season for Hillsdale. Few around the GLIAC or the nation for that matter knew much about Waldie other than he played on the opposite side of Charger receiver Nick Gurica. Gurica led the GLIAC in receptions in 2006 and most teams last year threw all they could at him last year. He still led the conference with 7.09 receptions per game but it was Waldie who emerged with an even bigger year. While teams will double covering Gurica, Waldie was exploiting the single covering and breaking all kinds of school records in the process. Aaron's 5 touchdown receptions against Findlay was a 2007 GLIAC single-game high, as was the accompanying 30 points. His 3 touchdowns against Gannon was the previous single game high. The 211 yards he gained receiving against Ashland was also the most for any GLIAC player last year.
Waldie knows that with Gurica's departure and all he accomplished last year, he won't be able to fly under the radar much this year. He fully expects to garner all of the same attention that Gurica did a year ago.
"Well, you have to expect that. I think I can use that to my advantage. I know what is coming. Because I know it is going to be harder, I have been working out and practicing doubly hard this summer. Before I lift, I go upstairs to the track and work a lot on starts and stance, trying to really perfect technique."
Not only does Waldie look forward to having the kitchen sink thrown at him. He is excited for his teammates and the opportunities that will create for them.
"AJ Kegg is going to start and play where I did last year. He should make a ton of catches. Then you have guys like (Andre) Holmes and Mike Blanchard...Matt Patillo at tight end is going to have a great year. Teams are going to have to put people on all of those guys so I will get my chances."
Waldie's freshmen arrival at Hillsdale was met with excitement mainly due to the pure speed he had demonstrated at Sylvaninia, Ohio's Southview High School in football and in track. According to reports, Aaron recorded the fastest 40 yard dash time at the University of Michigan's football camp the summer before his senior year. That is awfully impressive considering the Wolverine program always attracts some of the best athletes in the nation to its summer camp. Over the past 3 seasons, that speed has become more than legend as Waldie has wooed the GLIAC, and now it seems some NFL scouts are taking notice as well.
"That is the furthest thing from my mind right now, but I just want to keep playing football as long as I can," Aaron says.
Waldie and the rest of the Chargers get their chance to play some more football soon enough as they wrap up their last week of summer vacation and report to camp on August 7
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