Former University of Oklahoma All Big XII defensive back DJ Wolfe was in Grove Wednesday at the Sports Locker visiting with fans and signing autographs and Christmas gifts.
Wolfe was in Green Country doing public relations work for Oklahoma Healthcare Solutions of Ketchum.
“It’s a collaboration between The Sports Locker and Oklahoma Health Care Solutions,” Wolfe said of his visit. “We’re here getting some things signed for Christmas time for families and gifts for relatives. I do PR work for Oklahoma Healthcare Solutions and this is a chance to promote them as well.”
John Barclay, Outreach Coordinator for Oklahoma Healthcare Solutions was also at Wednesday’s event.
“We’re fortunate and blessed to have DJ and some of the other OU football players working with us,” said Barclay. “We’ve been a home health care company working in Oklahoma since 1995. We have 20 offices in the state and four in Texas.
“We’re proud of them,” Barclay said of the OU players doing work with the company. “They’re good and upstanding people with a lot of character.”
Garrett Crane, manager of The Sports Locker, was pleased with the visit.
“It’s a good deal,” Crane said. “I had met DJ over the past few weeks when he was in town with John. DJ wanted to do a meet and greet autograph session and we figured a sporting goods store would be a good place so we got it set up for after the Big XII Championship game.”
Wolfe, a three-year starter at OU who saw playing time as a true freshman, visited with fans for three hours while signing various Sooner gear including jerseys, footballs, hats, and pictures. Wolfe was a member of the Sooner squad from 2004-’07 and in that time helped the team win three Big XII Championships and make four consecutive bowl appearances, including three in the BCS Series.
“I’m on a break from football right now,” Wolfe said. “I have a partially torn bicep. I signed with the Atlanta Falcons on draft day, a three-year deal. But right now we’re just trying to get healed up right. I’ll have a couple of more months of rehab and I’ll work with Oklahoma Healthcare Solutions in the meantime.”
Besides all the wins and championships that Wolfe earned on the field the genial young man from Lawton Ike also picked up many life lessons during his tenure as a Sooner. One of the most important was the ability to find the discipline to be both a full time university student and full time athlete.
“At first it was tough,” Wolfe said of his early college days. “I ended up graduating high school early and started college at the age of 17.
“I just talked to some kids at a detention center in Oklahoma City on Monday and one of the key points that I hit on was finding a balance and how to manage your time.
“At OU we had a Student Help Center that was there to help you with class work,” Wolfe continued. “We had tutors, some available on request and others that you got if your grades were slacking. In my first year we had 10 study hall hours a week that you had to do until you could show the coaches that you could make good grades.
“I think Oklahoma is great in that,” Wolfe added. “They prepare their players not only to play in their sport but also to get ready mentally for the wide world out there.”
Wolfe was originally recruited as a running back for the Sooners and was one of the top five prospects in the nation for that position while in high school. Wolfe saw playing time at the position as a freshman. But as the slot was taken over by teammate Adrian Peterson, Wolfe and the OU coaching staff made the decision to switch the then-sophomore player to defensive back. Wolfe was happy with the change and enjoyed having Peterson as a teammate, going so far as to help recruit the current NFL star.
“I don’t shy away from competition and I’m a person that likes to win,” Wolfe said. “I had a feeling he (Peterson) could help us win- and he did. So, instead of transferring or getting down on myself I switched positions and was able to do that and go on and start for three more years.
“It taught me how to deal with adversity,” Wolfe said of the experience. “It also helped guide me in this cold world out here. It showed me that things don’t always go your way and the experience will help me later in life.”