Fred Wakefield Sounds Off On His Career, Junior Seau And Illini Tradition

Senior Fred Wakefield
Senior Fred Wakefield

Oct. 15, 2000

by Bill White, Athletic Public Relations Student Assistant

Q - Personally and for the team, what are your goals for the rest of the season?
A - We want to come out and play stronger and play better. I want to be more of a leader and help us out more when we get stuck in those ruts that have hurt us in the last couple games, and just go from there.

Q - What do you want your legacy to be when you graduate?
A - Just that I was a hard worker and I was a guy that came in everyday and did things to get better personally and help the team get better and that I was a great leader on the field and off the field.

Q - You list your favorite player as Junior Seau. What part of his game do you try and apply to yours?
A - I think his intensity. He's out there every play and flying from sideline to sideline and tries to make big hits. That is something I try and do myself.

Q - What is something about you that the average fan would not know?
A - People who watch me might know my work ethic on and off the field but they would not really know my personality. I am not quite as outspoken and vocal off the field. I am a person that will sit back and listen to what others have to say, but on the field I am a more outspoken person.

Q - If you had to recruit a blue chip athlete, how would you convince them to come to Illinois?
A - Mainly between the tradition and where we are going right now. I think people see where we are going, and that is something everyone likes to see. I think the main thing with the University of Illinois is the tradition they have had here for so long and the vibe you have here at the University. There?s so much excitement that surrounds football, especially when we are doing well.

Q - What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
A - The bowl game last year was pretty memorable. It was a great time after struggling for so many years. To go down there and enjoy the week before and come out and win the way we did was such a great experience.

Q - How would you sum up your Illini football career?
A - Slow starting but picking it up in the last couple years. I came in as a freshman a little underweight and as time has gone on I have gotten better as a player as the team has gotten better. Seems like after I got sick, that was the last year that we struggled, and now that the team is playing better I am playing better.