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Wide dedicated to family, football

By Liz Frome

Eddie Wide III has become an integral part of the Ute family, but he hasn’t forgotten his own.

After his parents divorced when Wide was just 18 months old, his father, Eddie Wide Jr., raised him and his three sisters by himself in Las Vegas. With Eddie as his only son, Wide Jr. said he and Eddie developed a close bond during Eddie’s childhood that remains strong to this day.

“My (goal) was for them to enjoy their childhood and not focus on the (aspects) of being raised by a single parent,” Wide Jr. said. “I wanted them to be okay and enjoy themselves. (Eddie) was easier (to raise) because we had that bond, that father-son relationship. I could teach the girls how to fight, but I couldn’t teach them how to be girls.”

Wide, the U’s junior running back, has also maintained a close connection to his sisters. Wide Jr. said that Wide always wanted to be involved in what his sisters were doing when he was young, and as he grew up, he made an effort to include them in his activities, especially his youngest sister, Mariah.

“In high school, he’d go to the movies with his friends,” Wide Jr. said. “Ten or 15 of them would all go to the movies and, Mariah, she’d want to go and see the video and she’s six years younger than him. But (Eddie) would go ahead and say (to his friends), “Hey, you know what? Mariah wants to go to the movies, we’ll all go see what she wants to watch.’ And they were all cool with that. The same happens now when he comes back in town. If he’s gonna go do something and she wants to hang out, he’ll change all his plans.”

Wide is majoring in sociology at the U and is planning on getting his criminology certificate so he can possibly pursue a career in law enforcement like his father, a probation officer in Las Vegas. Wide said seeing his father help people get a second chance motivated him to go the same route.

Whittingham said that between balancing classes, homework, football and a personal life, the laid-back 21-year-old has set an example for other student-athletes.

“He’s a great kid and a great student,” Whittingham said. “Just a mature kid, the epitome of a student-athlete8212;that’s what Eddie Wide is.”

Wide Jr. said although he misses his son, he’s proud of the way Wide has worked for what he wants, and hopes he continues to push himself.

“I told him, “I want you to enjoy your college experience the same way you enjoyed your childhood,’ ” Wide Jr. said. “It’s a lifetime experience…and I’m totally happy for him to be experiencing something like this because not everybody gets a chance to. He’s definitely happy there.”
“It’s exciting (to be part of this team),” Wide said. “I know that (the coaches) have been recruiting good players, and it makes me feel good that I’m a good player too, that they classify me as that. I’m just helping out in any way I can to help our team be successful.”
Wide has been more help to the Utes this season than originally anticipated, filling in for former starter Matt Asiata after he suffered a torn ACL in Utah’s game against Louisville late in September.

“When (Matt) went down, I just knew I had to step in and pick up the rifle and keep the running game going,” Wide said. “The situation was bittersweet. Matt’s a great friend of mine, and I didn’t want that to happen, but I had to get it together and step up and be the guy.”

Wide responded to the demanding change like a seasoned veteran and helped the Utes claim a 30-14 win over the Cardinals. He rushed for 129 yards in the game, nearly doubling his previous career high of 69.

After his career night against Louisville, Wide rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the next five games, raising his career high to 145 yards against New Mexico and setting the Utah record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games at six.

“It’s a record that I wasn’t really looking for,” Wide said. “It (will be) good to look back when I’m done with college ball to see that I did that.”

Head coach Kyle Whittingham said that with Asiata’s absence this season, Wide’s performance has been an essential element in the Utes achieving a 9-2 record, with another regular game and a bowl game still ahead of them.

“The thing that has affected our offense is the way (Eddie) picked up where Matt left off,” Whittingham said. “He was scheduled to be Matt’s understudy, but when Matt went down, Eddie stepped up, and we didn’t miss a beat. That’s really been one of the major keys to why we’ve been winning games.”

Eddie Wide Jr. said although his son is a big part of the Ute family now, Wide’s choice to join the Utah program surprised him.

While finishing high school in Las Vegas at Cimarron-Memorial, Wide was being recruited by schools around the country8212;but not as a running back. Wide had also played defensive back throughout his high school career, and Wide Jr. said he thought Wide would go to a school that wanted him in that position.

“I wanted him to play DB for his longevity, but the choice was Eddie’s, and I (supported) him in that,” Wide Jr. said.

Although he was tough, quick and talented on the defensive side, Wide said he chose to pursue the running back position because he has more control.

“I like running back more because when you have the ball in your hands, you know what you’re gonna do, but the defender doesn’t,” Wide said.

[email protected]

Mike Mangum

Eddie Wide has stepped up to help the Utes? running game after Matt Asiata went down earlier this season. When Wide is finished with school he wants to use his sociology degree to get a job in law enforcement like his father.

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