x
Breaking News
More () »

Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

Promise: fulfilled. Shaun Wade, family reflect ahead of 2021 National Championship

From an ejection in last year's CFB Playoff to the season that almost wasn't, the Wade family is exactly where they wanted to be: the 2021 National Championship Game

Football fans across the country laughed.

Both at the Big Ten, who initially voted to postpone the 2020 season due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, and the parent-led protest that followed. For days and weeks after, parents wrote letters and sounded off on social media; if three other, Power Five conferences could play this fall, why not the Big Ten?

Their leader, Jacksonville's Randy Wade, took it one step further. He traveled to Indianapolis himself, meeting up with other Big Ten parents in front of Commissioner Kevin Warren's office, in hopes of receiving answers.  

"At the end of the day, it wasn't just about my kid. It was about these other kids, too," Wade said Monday from Miami, where Ohio State will face Alabama at 8 p.m. 

"We need to fight for our kids to have the best opportunities in life they can," Wade added. 

Five months to the day, Big Ten-member Ohio State will play Alabama for the National Championship. The same Ohio State that pushed so hard for the season to happen, knowing full-well they had one of their best teams ever assembled and one of their best shots at a National Championship on the line. The same Ohio State that Shaun, Randy's son, plays for. Shaun was ejected in last year's College Football Playoff Semifinal for targeting; in his absence, the Buckeyes would lose to Clemson, ending their season. Shaun came back for his senior year to avenge that loss and take that one, last shot at a national title. Five months ago, it almost never happened. Tonight, he and the Buckeyes get that chance.

Guess who's laughing now?

"People coming together under one vision can make a change," Wade said. "People are gonna tell you 'no.' People are gonna tell you you look stupid. Social media is always going to have something to say. So you really got to take that negativity and turn it into a positive. Know what you want and keep grinding."