Connect with us

Football

2024 Football Preview: Woodruff

As the kickoff of the high school football season gets closer and closer, we caught up with Woodruff head coach Brett Sloan to preview the 2024 Wolverines.

In 2023, Woodruff went 4-6 in the regular season and 2-2 in Region 4-3A, good for a third place finish. The Wolverines dropped its first round playoff game to Wren on the road to wrap up the season. 

This season, Woodruff moves to the revamped Region 3-3A which includes all of last year’s Spartanburg County-based 3A schools including Mountain View Prep. 

“It’s a really good region, there should be some really good football games,” Sloan said. “It puts a little more on the line when you play.”

In stark contrast to the 2023 team, this season’s squad boasts 16 returning starters with seven on each side of the ball and two specialists. 

Offense

The figurehead of the 2024 Wolverine offense will be returning signal-caller TJ Morris, who broke out last season with over 2,700 passing yards on a unit that scored 30.3 points per game in region play.

“He’s a great leader and student of the game,” second-year head coach Brett Sloan said. “A coach on the field for us who kind of came out of nowhere last year.”

Morris will be flanked by returning starters at running back, wide receiver, and tight end. RB Aiden Gibson will attempt to follow up an all-region campaign as a freshman, alongside another all-region pick in WR Kori Moates, and late-season starter TE Cam Taylor. 

The Wolverines should continue to have plenty of firepower at the skill positions, but Sloan’s biggest off-season concerns come in the trenches. Woodruff will have to fill three spots on the offensive line with first-time starters by the time Week 1 arrives.

“We feel good about those guys and we like where they are at, but until they go out there and do it on a Friday night there will be questions,” Sloan said. “We got to figure out who those three guys are, that’s the biggest question mark for us on offense.”

The returners on the line include C Cohen Lyda and RG Brandon Ruiz. In the mix for the remaining spots include Luis Thompson, Zach Mashburn, Kaden Morris, and Paul Davis. Maddax Kennedy can also play a factor in his return from injury.

Defense

The Wolverines experience will be a strength in the front seven, where Woodruff returns two linebackers and three defensive lineman. 

Jordan Hood will man the middle linebacker spot, with Tre Rodgers on his outside. On the line, nose guard Gunner Atkinson will split defensive ends Travon Lee and Nathan Gentry.

 

“Our two linebackers carry the most experience,” Sloan said. “We’re looking for big years from all of those guys.”

The remaining linebacker spot could be filled by Shaun Graybill, who played limited varsity games in 2023 but Sloan is expecting a big leap from.

Safety Hunter West is Sloan’s best player on the defensive side of the ball in his words. West will also play on offense along with Snoop Green as two-way players. Jackson McCarley could slot in at the other safety opposite West.

“We got some guys who are going to have to step up at the other spots [in the secondary],” Sloan said. 

The leading contenders at cornerback for Woodruff are Ty Moates and Green, who will have to make strides this offseason in a defensive spot on the field with less experience than the others. 

Woodruff opens the season on August 23rd with a road game at Clinton, and plays its home opener on September 6th against Emerald. Other non-region highlights include a trip to Chesnee followed by a home game against Wren, the team that ended the Wolverines season in 2023. 

Region play begins October 4th in a home game with Broome, continues on October 18th at Mountain View Prep after a bye, and finishes at Chapman and home versus Union on October 25th and November 1st respectively. 

More in Football