Before this season Santa Ana (Calif.) College tight end Woody Quinn hadn't played football since his freshman year of high school.
Yes, high school.
Quinn was a volleyball phenom who was being highly recruited by Division-I programs so he put his full attention into the sport. He played year round as recruiting was more based off playing with their club team rather than ones school squad.
After high school the two-sport star played Division-I volleyball at Pepperdine, where he redshirted, then transferred to Cal Baptist using his freshman year of eligibility.
But volleyball just didn't feel right for Quinn who was missing the sport he truly loved.
"Football had already been eating at me," Quinn explained. "Even watching football was hard for me to watch during my freshman and sophomore year of college. I really missed it."
"So when I redshirted my freshman year at Pepperdine it kind of gave me one last shot to go back to play football my sophomore year. I got in touch with [Santa Ana College] coach [Geoff] Jones. He seemed interested, wanted to make things happen and he kind of had a vision with it. I really trusted him and went with my gut of missing football. I really love football the most and had to go back, trust in God and roll with it. Luckily it has worked out."
The 6-foot-5.5 and 250-pound tight end had 15 receptions for 252 yards and one score this season in a run heavy attack offense. He was second on his team in catches and tied for second in receiving touchdowns.
"I think I did pretty well, catching the ball right away," Quinn said of his season. "Blocking is where I had to put a lot of work in. I put a lot of work in just in general to get myself ready but everyday I was trying to improve on something. Coach Jones I can't say enough about him, taking me in and turning me from a volleyball player into a football player. Without him none of this would be possible."
Quinn has been offered by Tennessee, San Diego State, Fresno State and Stony Brook since joining Santa Ana College.
How does it feel?
"Surreal," Quinn joyfully expressed in one word.
"Obviously when the whole recruiting process started it was extremely surreal. I feel extremely blessed. It's been very humbling. I always believed in myself and this was my goal. I felt flattered and honor even when a Division-III or NAIA school would call me."
The JuCo prospect will take an official visit to Tennessee this weekend and Fresno State the following weekend. It's possible he'll officially visit Wyoming this month but the Cowboys had some midseason scholarships recently become available so they are looking to use it on a tight end that can come in right away.
Quinn picked up his most recent offer from San Diego State on Tuesday. He has already taken an unofficial visit to Montezuma Mesa just a few weeks ago.
"I liked it a lot," Quinn said of his visit to SDSU. "Obviously I'm kind of a California boy. I haven't left California so San Diego State was always actually a school I liked."
"Santa Ana [College] has always had some connections with San Diego State. Coach Ogas went there and did really well. So I was always thinking man if only San Diego State kind of showed interest that would be really cool. I would have a chance to stay in California and go to a great location. Also knowing about Gavin Escobar and how they use their tight ends is also pretty awesome."
Special teams coach Kevin McGarry is expected to talk with Quinn after his visit to Tennessee. The two will try to set up an in-home visit soon after.
What stood out on the visit?
"I loved the location obviously," Quinn continued. "I liked the school, I knew the academics were great but importantly I wanted to see how the staff liked me and how I liked them."
During the visit Quinn met with offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who recently left to take the same position at Wisconsin, where they watched over an hour of film.
"I really enjoyed that," Quinn said. "Just saw all the tight end usage in plays from the last two years. I really liked that a lot. I like coach McGarry."
"I also met strength coach Adam Hall. I really like what they are all about. How tough they were because I want to be pushed past where I think I can go physically, mentally and emotionally."
Quinn plans to take all his visits before making his final decision.
"I honestly want to go see Fresno State and Tennessee. I want to compare everyone equally," Quinn explained. "Although I've only done an unofficial visit to San Diego State, by equally I mean meeting the coaching staff, general vibe that I get. So I definitely want to take both my visits."
"Then really I could decide once I'm done with all my visits. I'm going to wait and see what kind of happens with San Diego State as well. If they want me to come on an official visit so we may end up doing that."
Quinn knows his family would love to keep him close to home but ultimately they just want what's best for him.
"I think they'd be lying if they said no," Quinn said if his parents want him to stay close to home. "Obviously they would want to come to my games if they could. I can see them driving to Fresno on Friday night or Saturday morning to come see me play. San Diego location wise is ideal."
"That being said I just think my parents want me to go where they feel I like the most, getting out there and seeing it. But most important is the character of the coaching staff and how I feel like I fit with them. That's what they care the most about whether it's in Wisconsin, Florida or anywhere else."
The incoming junior will have two years to play two and should make an impact wherever he ends up at.
"I feel I bring a great work ethic, a lot of athletic ability as far as height, general athleticism and ability to go up to get the football," Quinn said of what he would bring to the program he ultimately chooses. "Also have the ability to get after it in blocking as well."
"I do feel like I bring some leadership qualities by leading my example and maybe be more quiet and get things done. Do more than what is expected as me and always try to go 110%."
Second Chance for Quinn
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