Blue Chip chat with. . . Gateway's Thomas Woodson
A three-year starter at quarterback for Gateway, Woodson appears ready for a big senior season after helping the Gators reach the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals last season. He completed 63 of 105 passes for 1,184 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions a year ago. He also ran for 306 yards. Woodson has fought through some injury problems in his career, including being shot in the right leg during a double-shooting last summer that claimed the life of teammate Darrell Turner.
Even before he started a varsity game, Gateway coach Terry Smith said Woodson would eventually be a Division I quarterback. Smith was right. Woodson committed to Arizona and first-year coach Rich Rodriguez in June. Woodson also had an offer from Bowling Green. He became the third WPIAL player to commit to Arizona within the past year, joining Upper St. Clair's Dakota Conwell and Chartiers Valley's Wayne Capers.
You haven't thrown the ball much in the past. Do you think coach Smith will open up the offense for you this season? I'm not sure. He knows we have a good running game. We have three or four good players who can run the ball. He calls the shots and we run the plays. Whatever he decides is fine with me.
With you being such a good athlete, why don't you play any other sports? I played basketball my freshman year, but then I stopped because I just wanted to focus on football after that.
Who is the best player in the WPIAL? There's a lot. I've played with the best on my (7-on-7) PA SWAG team like (Clairton's) Tyler Boyd and (Central Valley's) Rob Foster. They're tremendous athletes. (North Allegheny's) Pat Kugler is a good player, too. He's really smart, a student of the game.
Why Arizona? That whole coaching staff had been recruiting me since my freshman year when they were at Michigan. Even after all that time they still had me in their heads and wanted me to play for them.
There was some uncertainty as to whether coach Smith would remain at Gateway this season after the school board threatened to cut his athletic director's position to part time. What was it like to see so many people speak out to support him? It was pretty cool. It was just a chance to show the school board the type of support he has. It wasn't just Gateway players there, but people and coaches from other schools, too. It just shows you how much of an impact he has on everybody.
How much has the shooting changed you? Nothing really has changed. I'm still the same person. I never do bad things. I've just always stayed focused.
Gateway has a good number of graduates playing Division I football right now. Who is the best? I'm a big Cam Saddler fan. He's a tremendous athlete. I was in eighth grade when he was a senior and I would watch him all the time. I was a ball boy. He's done it all. He's a tremendous player and a great person.
First Published August 21, 2012 12:00 am