NCHSAA SEC Members
Wolff Drafted by the NFL Eagles
April 29, 2013Hoke County High School
New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he and other staffers were holding their collective breaths Saturday afternoon as the first two selections in the fifth round of the 2013 National Football League draft were announced.
The Eagles held the third pick in the fifth round, and had a specific player in mind to use it on - N.C. State safety Earl Wolff.
"He was a guy we had targeted and thought would go a lot higher,'' Kelly said during a post-round teleconference. "We were holding our breath to see if we could get through the (first two) picks.''
Kansas City selected Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings, and the Jacksonville Jaguars picked Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson as a running back before Kelly would get his man.
The Eagles made Wolff the third pick in the fifth round and the 136th selection overall.
Wolff, from Hoke County, was the first of two former Cape Fear region high school graduates to be selected on the final day of the draft. Southern Lee wide receiver Aaron Mellette, who was a Football Championship Subdivision All-American at Elon, was the 32nd player taken in the seventh round by the reigning world champion Baltimore Ravens.
Wolff, the 5-foot-11, 209-pounder has an extended family in Philadelphia, including his grandmother. Wolff spent Friday and Saturday watching the draft with many of those relatives at a local hotel where they gathered to view the proceedings.
When the phone call came about 2 p.m. from the Eagles telling Wolff they were going to select him, a celebration erupted around him.
"It was crazy,'' Wolff said in an interview with philadelphiaeagles.com. "I had an uncle here with a (Eagles) shirt and hat on. Once I answered the phone call and he heard me say, 'Yes sir, I would love to come to Philadelphia,' my uncle was jumping all over me.''
Wolff becomes the first Hoke County player taken in the NFL draft since defensive back C.J. Gaddis in 2007. Like Wolff, Gaddis was selected in the fifth round (159th overall) and by the Philadelphia Eagles.
As a running back and safety at Hoke County, Wolff earned All-Cape Fear region honors as a senior in 2007. But despite his high school success, N.C. State was the only major college to offer him a scholarship after watching him perform in their summer camp prior to his senior season at Hoke.
Wolff rewarded the Wolfpack after a redshirt freshman season in 2008 by making 43 starts, 400 tackles, and seven interceptions in contributing to 29 victories over the next four seasons. He earned first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors last season after leading N.C. State with 119 tackles.
Kelly spoke to former N.C. State offensive coordinator Dana Bible before the draft about Wolff. The Eagles also received reviews about Wolff from former N.C. State defensive backs coach Mike Reid, who worked for Philadelphia from 2002 to 2006 as an assistant coach.
"He's an explosive guy who can run and jump,'' Kelly said. "He's a tough, hard-nosed, physical player. In talking to some of their coaches before picking him, they couldn't say enough good things about him. They said he's the type of guy you want in your building.'' See Coach Kelly's interview.
Wolff had to wait almost 42 hours after the start of the draft to hear his name called. The first round of the draft was conducted Thursday, followed by rounds two and three Friday. Some pre-draft projections had Wolff being taken in the third round, but when that didn't occur, he came back Saturday for about a two-hour wait until the Eagles called.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking,'' Wolff said. "You are anxious. But the excitement you feel when you see your name go across the TV screen and you see that phone call come in ... it's kind of hard to talk about. I've been blessed in so many different ways.''
The family connection to Philadelphia may cause Wolff to be hunting for tickets to Eagles games next fall.
"Almost all my family still lives in North Philly,'' he said. "I used to go up there each summer to spend time, but I haven't been up there since about the 12th grade. I had about 15 members of my family from Philadelphia here with me now. My grandmother is extremely happy.''