Garrett Woodall didn’t always picture himself as an Army cadet.
He quickly warmed up to the idea, though, and on Wednesday afternoon, the West Forsyth tight end made that choice official by committing to play football at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Woodall‘s commitment makes him West’s second tight end to commit to an FBS school in two years, after Ben Bresnahan committed to Vanderbilt last season. Woodall also had offers to play FCS football from Stetson and Southern Illinois.
“I went on a visit June 22 and it just felt like home,” Woodall said of Army. “For me, it’s the best opportunity I have to play big time football and also get a fantastic education that’ll set me up for the rest of my life.
“I’m just very excited and relieved, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
During that visit last month, Woodall met with coaches and toured facilities. He credits those factors, along with the Black Knights’ Nike-designed uniforms, as major reasons for committing.
The decision to attend the Army’s premier academy was not initially an easy one for Woodall. He was impressed with what he saw but still had questions about the differences between going to a service academy, as opposed to a traditional four-year institution. Cadets are required to serve in the Army in some capacity for five years after graduation. It didn’t take long for Woodall’s reservations to be quelled, though.
“I didn’t really know about it too much,” he said. “Obviously I knew about Army football and the Army-Navy Game but I didn’t really know too much about what it entailed cadet-wise and school-wise and the commitment afterwards.
“It intimidated me at first, to be honest with you, but once I got up there, I talked to multiple players and they were the same way at first. Honestly, they kind of convinced me into it, not (by) telling me to go there, but just saying how great it is and how much they love it.”
Army head coach Jeff Monken runs a heavily option-based offense, which could be a natural fit for Woodall given his role in West’s scheme.
“I like to block and be physical,” he said. “They also recruited me for my versatility because last year I played tight end, slot back, H-back, wideout… I played everywhere.”
Woodall will now be a part of one of the most storied rivalries in American sports, with the chance to play in the annual Army-Navy game. Army is currently on a two-year winning streak, which followed a 14-year stretch of consecutive wins by Navy from 2002-2015.
“I guess I haven’t really (wrapped) my head around that yet,” Woodall said. “It’s probably one of the most-watched college football games besides the national championship game and the playoffs. To think that I could be playing in that and I could be watched by people playing in that, it’s kind of crazy.”