Gateway QB Tom Woodson is the next great in the Keystone state
Posted April 28, 2011 11:14 pm
Photo courtesy of Bill Darrah
When people talk about high school football in the state of Pennsylvania, one of the first things that comes to the forefront of conversation is Pennsylvania’s storied tradition at the quarterback position.
When it comes to the drop back quarterback, you could argue that no other state in America has as proud of a legacy as Pennsylvania.
Legends of the gridiron such as Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Jim Kelly, and Joe Namath all dazzled high school football fans in Pennsylvania before they punched their tickets to the football parthenon that is the NFL Hall of Fame.
You simply won’t find a better collection of talent at the signal-caller position than you’ll find in Pennsylvania.
The state practically wrote the book on the drop back quarterback.
So you would think Pennsylvania’s quarterbacking tradition would produce yet another drop-back quarterback.
After looking at Gateway (Monroeville, Pa.) field general Tom Woodson, you realize he’s about to break that mold.
Woodson is blessed with tremendous speed in the open field and has the ability to beat teams with not only his arm but his legs as well.
Just ask Erie McDowell how dynamic of a runner in the open field Woodson is.
As a sophomore last year, the slippery signal-caller sliced and diced his way through their defense to the tune of 219 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 attempts (9.52 yards per carry).
He shredded opponents for 468 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 118 attempts (3.9 yards per carry).
In his first year starting as a quarterback, Woodson completed 93 of his 202 attempts (46 percent) for 1,362 yards and 12 touchdowns, while tossing in 11 interceptions.
The talented sophomore showed the sky is the limit for his potential and he also demonstrated vast improvement throughout the season.
The 6’2, 200 pound signal-caller has excellent mechanics when dropping back to throw, standing tall in the pocket and demonstrating excellent ball position.
When the pocket collapses, Woodson seems to have a remarkable knack for finding the running lanes so he can take off and make things happen with his feet.
The gifted class of 2013 prospect will be headed to Penn State’s Elite 11 quarterback camp on Friday, April 29th–where he’ll get more instruction from some of the top quarterback instructors in the country.
While the recruiting process still has a few years to play itself out for the talented field general, expect him to attract plenty of attention from colleges across the country next spring and beyond.
FinestPreps.com caught up with the elusive signal-caller recently to discuss his college football recruitment process, among other topics.
Below is the interview.
FinestPreps.com Interview with Gateway QB Tom Woodson
FinestPreps.com: First off, Tom, talk about how the college football recruitment process is going for you.
Tom Woodson: “It’s going good. It’s alright I guess. When I get older I’ll understand it more. I’ve got a couple colleges that have been sending me stuff such as Penn State wrote me a letter and Iowa as well. A couple of other colleges are recruiting me–Penn State, Iowa, Duke, Illinois, and Syracuse. Those are a couple of colleges that are recruiting me right now. Michigan was but I don’t think they are recruiting me right now because Rich Rodriguez got fired. Akron as well.”
FinestPreps.com: Do you have any favorites at this point Tom? Is there a team that you cheered up for growing up or anything like that?
Tom Woodson: “The funny thing is I’ve always been a big Texas fan but they never really recruit outside of the state. They’re really big on the state of Texas. But I dunno if I’ll ever go down that far. I’ve always been rooting for Texas. I’ve always loved Texas.”
FinestPreps.com: Why the Texas Longhorns, Tom?
Tom Woodson: “I just love what they stand for. Since I was little I’ve played quarterback and I loved watching Vince Young–everything he did and stuff like that. He could run, he could throw. I just like Vince Young. I just like what he did–especially how they were the underdog in the National Championship game. He came out and won that game in the final seconds.”
FinestPreps.com: Being in Pennsylvania, you’re a dynamic dual-threat quarterback. Is it kind of weird being in a state that’s known for its drop-back quarterbacks?
Tom Woodson: “Yeah I understand what you mean. There’s only a couple great quarterbacks. Well I could say there’s one great dual threat quarterback–that’s Terrelle Pryor and he was the best athlete in the country. But we’ve developed–Western Pa. has had some great passing quarterbacks. We’ve had Joe Montana, Dan Marino. Dan Marino would probably be the best quarterback ever–by far. At least I think so.”
FinestPreps.com: Tom when watching your highlights you have really good mechanics as far as your ball position when you’re getting ready to release the ball. Have you been taught good mechanics at a young age? Is there somebody you attribute that to or does that just kind of come naturally to you?
Tom Woodson: “I always had older cousins. My whole family were sports fanatics and especially my older cousin who’s up at Penn State right now. He was an All-American when he was in high school. I always learned something from him and my other cousins as well. My cousins when I played midget league helped me out a lot.
FinestPreps.com: Who’s your older cousin that’s up at Penn State?
Tom Woodson: “Paul Jones.”
FinestPreps.com: Talk about the upcoming season for you guys at Gateway, Tom. Have you started to become in more confident in your role as the quarterback of the team?
Tom Woodson: “Yes, definitely. This was my first year starting last year and they’re is not really a lot of sophomore quarterbacks starting around our town. I had sophomore jitters–being a young quarterback coming in, taking over the game, and taking control. The game was slower and slower after every game and I could understand it more. Next year I’ll have more experience. My team will have more experience. I’ll know what it’s been like–going through the playoffs and playing these teams–our rivals and things like that. Next year I should have a better season than I had last year.”
FinestPreps.com: Tom, I know you’re one of the quarterbacks for W PA Swag. Talk about 7-on-7 competition and how that helps you improve as a quarterback.
Tom Woodson: “Instead of always worrying about the defensive linemen–it’s good to worry about the defensive linemen but you can just worry what kind of defense it is–such as picking the right throws and not throwing the ball anywhere. Playing with speed–there’s a lot of speed all over the country–playing with nationally ranked players, players I’ve heard of, players I’ve seen that are huge on scouting sites. It’s fun to play against players like that and see where I land in the competition.”
FinestPreps.com: What’s the biggest thing you need to work on as a player, Tom–heading into next season and beyond as a quarterback?
Tom Woodson: “I’ve gotta be more talkative. Last year I was just a sophomore–I didn’t say a lot. But as a quarterback, you’ve gotta have that role of talking, bringing your teammates up, and doing stuff like that more. I mean I’ve done it but I think I should do it way more than I did last year. It’s just something a quarterback has to do. He’s supposed to be a leader and take control of his team.”
FinestPreps.com: Tom, you mentioned Vince Young as one of your football role models growing up. Is there any other dynamic dual-threat quarterback that you modeled your game after?
Tom Woodson: “To be honest–definitely Michael Vick and Terrelle Pryor when I was young. I’ve always been a big Cam Newton fan. I saw him a couple times in high school in Atlanta. I knew he was going to Florida–I’m pretty big on watching players and where they came from. I saw him play in junior college football and I’m a huge Cam Newton fan.”
FinestPreps.com: What do you think is the toughest part about being a quarterback, Tom?
Tom Woodson: “The toughest is probably staying calm and not getting angry about the littlest things. Little things like people dropping the ball, stuff like that. Little things that players can overcome easily. You’ve gotta keep your composure. I’m always in the game. I’m into the game so much. Even when I’m on the sidelines cheering my team on–I’m always into it.”
Keep it locked to FinestPreps.com for more on the talented class of 2013 prospect’s college football recruitment process!
Wade Peery is the senior writer for FinestPreps.com. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. All comments and feedback are welcome.
Check out the sophomore highlights of Tom Woodson below–courtesy of FinestPreps.com!