By Tim Chambers
The short trip from Mountain City to Emory & Henry was the key selling point for Nevada Woodard to become a Wasp on the gridiron in 2017. The senior standout signed on to play football for the Wasps and that has his coaches and teammates “buzzing” about his opportunity.
Woodard was an All-Conference performer for the Longhorns and was one of a few players that started on both sides of the ball. He recorded 88 tackles as a defensive end and doubled as the team’s starting fullback.
He’s excited about playing at the collegiate level next year.
“I had visited several colleges in North Carolina and I liked Winthrop, but Emory & Henry called right out of the blue and offered me a visit,” said Woodard. “I loved the campus when they took me around plus the school is only 30 minutes from Johnson County. It has a great academic history, it’s a small school, plus it’s very close to home. Those were some things that I was looking for.”
The Wasps return 28 players next year so Woodward has his sights set on something.
“I want to try and play special teams my first year and hopefully be a position player my second season,” added Woodard. “I’ll give it all I have. I’m hoping they play me on the defensive side and I think they will. That’s where I‘m most comfortable at.”
Woodard paid his dues as a standout player for Johnson County. He broke his leg as a freshman and missed the entire season. He feels like that made him a better player.
“I learned to appreciate the opportunity that God gave me to play,” said Woodard. “My brother and Coach (Anthony Woodard) began working with me on my rehab the minute that I could walk. I love the game and I want to be around it for many years to come. I owe a lot to my coaches for believing in me.”
He’s earned respect from his high school head coach, Don Kerley.
“Nevada has worked hard and he’s a great kid,” said Kerley. “He’s never missed a practice and he’s a great student in the classroom. We’re happy that he’s getting this opportunity.”
Kerley said that Woodard had a very good ACT score. He believes that the Wasps are getting a good player.
”He wanted to stay close to home and went to several camps there,” added Kerley. “He had some people looking at him, but E&H will be a good fit. I can see him likely playing outside linebacker. He’s got a good nose for the football and he’s very smart. He’s as strong as anybody we had. That’s going to help him at that level.”
Woodard knew that the juices to play were overflowing by his junior season.
“I started thinking about playing college football my junior year,” added Woodard. “I busted it in the weight room. I remember not wanting to let my senior year be my last football game. That and several of my friends have encouraged me to make the most of it.”
Woodard said his fondest memory was being a part of three playoff teams. He thanked his brother and coach Anthony for never giving up on him. He also handed out high praise for Kerley and his coaching staff.
“There have been so many people to help me that it would be hard to mention them all,” said Woodard. “I just want to get ready for school, play football and get a good education. That’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish.”
Expect Woodard to be a “busy bee” in the fall of 2017.
He’ll fit in nicely as a “Wasp.” Hopefully he’ll have the coaching staff buzzing about his work ethics and talents.
It’s easy to envision him “stinging” many ball carriers over the next four seasons.