Woodson to head west with verbal commitment to Arizona
Thomas Woodson relished the opportunity to run the same offense in college that he does at Gateway, so the dual-threat quarterback did what he does best: read the situation and decide where to run.
In this case, it's all the way to Arizona.
Woodson made a verbal commitment to Arizona on Sunday night, choosing the Wildcats over a scholarship offer from Bowling Green. Ohio, Purdue and Toledo were showing in- terest in the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder.
"They were the first team to give me a chance," Woodson said of Rich Rodriguez and his staff, primarily recruiter Tony Gibson. "I thought, ‘Why not pull the trigger on a coaching staff that has followed me since I started playing varsity ball?' It was just the feeling I have about Arizona and the coaching staff."
Woodson passed for 1,184 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 314 yards and three scores on 70 carries last season. His top performance came against Latrobe, when he passed for 334 yards. As a sophomore, Woodson passed for 1,362 yards and ran for 468 yards out of a read-option offense.
"Their offense is the same I run in high school. It'll be great," Woodson said. "Our offense is run exactly like theirs, with the quarterback reading the defensive end. It'll be great to do at the college level what I've been doing for three years now."
Woodson becomes the third WPIAL star to pick Arizona, which has a staff with a heavy western Pennsylvania influence. Chartiers Valley wide receiver Wayne Capers and Upper St. Clair linebacker Dakota Conwell signed with Arizona in February.
"It's nice knowing those guys," said Woodson, who played with them on the Western PA Swag seven-on-seven team last summer. "They're great people and great athletes, so it will be nice to have them there when I get there."
New England Patriots all-pro Rob Gronkowski, who starred as a senior at Woodland Hills in 2006, played his college football at the University of Arizona.
As a true freshman in 2007, Gronkowski recorded 28 receptions for 525 yards and six touchdowns. He earned several freshman All-American and All-PAC 10 honors.
They were the type of first-year accomplishments Woodson hopes he's in a position to achieve.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for him," Gateway head football coach Terry Smith said.
"He has the chance to play BCS-caliber football in the biggest conference in the country. He will have the chance to compete early. We're happy for him that he can put that decision behind him and focus on having a great senior year."
Woodson is the second student-athlete from the Gateway Class of 2013 to verbally commit to a Division I football program
Last month, Gators two-way starter Jaymar Parrish chose to continue his education and athletic pursuits at Pitt.
From 2004 to 2011, 21 Gateway football players signed on to play at Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
National Letter of Intent signing day is the first Wednesday in February. It is the first day all verbal commitments can become finalized and binding.
Times Express sports editor Michael Love contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL Draft preview: Thin crop of offensive tackles available
- Peat adds to Stanford offensive line legacy
- Penguins Insider: Series has enough gamesmanship
- Shooting reported at Webster Avenue bar in Hill District
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Pirates notebook: Fan struck by foul ball released from hospital
- Step up in class doesn’t hold back Deer Lakes baseball team
- Steelers open daunting season at Patriots, play 5 prime-time games
- Rangers enjoy benefits of strong start
- Steelers bring in 2 more cornerbacks for visits
- Visual artists want to scan you at Carnegie Museum of Art event