Wooldridge Chasing Scholarship Offers

The odds aren't the greatest but there is still a chance that Mark Wooldridge, the nephew of former OSU running back John Wooldridge, could still become a Buckeye. His performances at various camps and combines this off-season have attracted the attention of many schools in the Midwest. Ohio State and West Virginia are two schools that Wooldridge is looking at closely right now.

First thing's first. For the record, Mark Wooldridge of Walsh Jesuit High School is not the son of former Ohio State tailback John Wooldridge.

"John Wooldridge is my uncle. He's my dad's brother," said Mark Wooldridge. "But he's a real good role model in my life right now. He currently lives in Columbus."

John Wooldridge was Ohio State's leading rusher in his junior season in 1985 before a knee injury wiped out his senior campaign in ‘86.

"He played for (Akron) Central-Hower and went on to a great career at Ohio State," Mark Wooldridge said about his uncle. "He played for a little bit in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys (undrafted free agent) before he tore his ACL."

But he's been a big help for his nephew with respect to recruiting.

"He plays an important role for me because he knows how everything works and he knows the life of a football player," Mark Wooldridge said. "He's told me a lot about the game itself and how to be a good running back."

Wooldridge has been working as hard as anyone trying to secure an offer of his own from a school like Ohio State or any other big-time program that takes a genuine interest in him. Since January, when he attended the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio, Wooldridge has worked out at numerous combines and summer camps trying to enhance his position in the recruiting circles.

"If you go to a lot of camps and different combines, it shows the coaches there what they maybe can't see on film," Wooldridge said. "The coaches can see your agility and your footwork and they can see for themselves how fast you or how strong you are. It's just a chance for you to showcase your talent and ability in front of a lot of good coaches."

Wooldridge obviously made a concerted effort this off-season to be seen by as many coaches and scouting agencies as possible.

"Last year wasn't my best season. It was a good season but it wasn't great for me so that's why I've been doing these combines," said Wooldridge who barely eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last season after gaining 1,500 as a sophomore. "I think it's really helped me a lot."

Wooldridge was also on the Ted Ginn Foundation Bus Tour and he picked up some additional scholarship offers as a result of it.

"The Ted Ginn tour really helped me out a lot," Wooldridge said. "Before the trip I had offers from Akron and Miami and after the trip I came back with (offers from) Marshall, Cincinnati, Ball State and Bowling Green. And a lot of the Big Ten schools I went to, like Wisconsin and Indiana, have shown some interst."

Ohio State was one of the Big Ten schools that Wooldridge visited during the tour and they seem to have some interest in him as well.

"I talked to Dick Tressel and he said they were giving one more (running back) offer out," Wooldridge said. "Daniel Herron just committed and he said they were giving one more offer out and wanted to get another athletic back. They're going to get back with me after the first two weeks of the season so I'm really looking forward to that."

West Virginia, in somewhat of a similar fashion to Ohio State, seems to be interested in Wooldridge as an athlete.

"West Virginia wants to give me a scholarship as a athlete where I'll play anywhere on the field," Wooldridge said. "I can return punts or be on the kick return team or I can play running back, defensive back, wide receiver or a slot. Anything. So I'm looking forward to that."

At 5-10 and 195 pounds Wooldridge comes equipped with a wicked combination of size and speed. He was clocked at a blistering 4.35 seconds at Miami of Ohio when he was on the bus tour.

"After that I didn't run any more 40s," Wooldridge said. "Coach (Ted) Ginn went along on the tour and he told all of the coaches what my fastest 40 was. At the Nike camp I ran a 4.47 (in early May) and my times went down after that."

If all goes well for Wooldridge this season, he'd like to win the Mr. Football award and become the next Wooldridge to play for Ohio State.

"I just want to continue to work hard for the season and hopefully lead my team to the state playoffs. And I want to be Mr. Football this year, that's a real big goal for me right now," Wooldridge said. "But sometime either during the season or right after it, I want to make a decision about where I'm going to go. And if things should happen to work out that way, I'd love to go to Ohio State."


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