The prospect of playing football beyond high school was almost inconceivable to Wade Webster after his freshman season.

"I was 325 pounds and football was really difficult for me with how slow and how big I was," he admitted. "I was really fed up of being that big of a guy."

Webster made a commitment to shedding pounds, becoming stronger and increasing his speed. In the process, it greatly enhanced his production on the field and the attention he garnered from college programs.

Three years later, Webster is a second team all-state offensive tackle for Bettendorf and verbally committed Sunday afternoon to play football at Montana State University, a Football Championship Subdivision program.

Webster, who lost 60 pounds between his freshman and sophomore seasons and played at 285 this past fall, paved the way up front for a Bettendorf offense that rushed for more than 290 yards on four occasions and reached the Iowa Class 4A semifinals.

"Each year, I just gradually got better and better," he said. "I didn't think college football was a possibility until this past spring. I never thought I was good enough and football was just something I did for fun."

Since the season ended, the 6-foot-6 Webster said there has been considerable stress in making a decision.

"It was one of those constant worries where I'm going to be," he said. "I just wanted someone to make a decision for me so I didn't have to go through it all."

Webster considered Western Illinois and Northern Iowa, but his official visit to the Bozeman, Mont., campus last Thursday, Friday and Saturday solidified his choice.

JP Flynn, a Bettendorf graduate and a redshirt freshman offensive lineman for Montana State, suggested Webster's name to the coaching staff and served as his host for the recruiting trip.

"JP and I are pretty close," Webster said. "Traveling that far away is a big decision, so to have somebody you know from your hometown at the school makes my future a lot easier."

The coaching staff offered Webster on Saturday morning.

"I was really jumpy and wanted to say yes, but I knew I needed to hold back and sleep on it and mull it over in my head for a night," he said. "When I woke up this morning, I was determined it was the right decision."

Webster, who plans to study plant science, can sign his official letter of intent on Feb. 5.


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.