Few could’ve been surprised when McAlester senior stars Caden Pratt and Jarome Smith earned football scholarships back in the fall. The same could be said of Cade Harkins, whose numbers might not have matched Pratt or Smith but whose desire to play at the next level had been clear for awhile.
Perhaps because of his quiet demeanor, McAlester senior Allen Woodmore’s recruiting process may have flown under the radar. And while it took Woodmore a little longer than his teammates, the result was the same: a college scholarship.
Woodmore signed his Letter of Intent to play for Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., on Friday at McAlester High School.
“It kind of came out of the blue,” Woodmore said Friday.
“It’s a nice program. Good facilities.”
Woodmore said Tabor began showing interest in him in January and February. The Bluejays played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ quarter-finals Nov. 30, meaning they couldn’t start the recruiting process until their season ended in December.
Woodmore sent them film, then went up to meet the coaches and check out the facilities. When he met Tabor coach Mike Gardner, Allen’s father Arthur said, Gardner called him “the smartest freshman he’d ever had in his office.”
“I could tell right away that he has a really high football IQ, and that’s something that’s really hard to coach,” Tabor coach Mike Gardner said.
“Nice kid. Humble. Somebody I feel like is going to fit our program and do what we want. We try to recruit kids that have good character.”
Gardner said players that’ve come into his program have been known to change positions, but for now Woodmore will continue playing safety. After helping the Buffs reach the Class 5A state championship against Guthrie — another team with a Bluejay mascot — Woodmore was named an All-District 5A-3 defensive back, then won McAlester’s “Buffalo Way” Award.
Where Woodmore plays in future years may be tied to his physical development. Woodmore said that while he considers himself a smart football player, his strength and size needs to improve for him to succeed in college.
“When he’s 20 years old, his body’s going to be a whole lot different,” Gardner said.
Located in Hillsboro, Tabor is 312 miles north of McAlester. The Bluejays compete in the NAIA’s Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, finishing second in the conference for the 2013 regular season and posting a final record of 10-3.
Tabor was ranked eighth in the NAIA as of Tuesday.
Woodmore said he plans to enroll in the pre-pharmacy program at Tabor, then complete his studies at a full pharmacy school after graduating Tabor.
“They made it clear that I’ll be able to get the classes I need,” Woodmore said.
Woodmore is the second McAlester football player in the last two years to sign with an NAIA school. Jase Romine signed with Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee following the 2012 season.
Contact Matt Goisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.