For the past three seasons, Kaleb Woods has been like a force of nature for the Owen Warhorses. So perhaps it’s fitting he’ll continue his football career as a Tornado.
On Feb. 16 in the media center at Owen High School, the senior signed a letter of intent to play football for Brevard College.
Woods, a middle linebacker, was the lead tackler for the Warhorses last season, with 103 tackles. He was also one of the team’s captains.
“He was our general and captain on the field,” said Owen head coach Nathan Padgett. “He never came off the field; he was our go-to guy.”
On offense, Woods started at guard all season and was the long snapper on special teams.
“Kaleb is one of those guys who just gets it,” Padgett said. “He’s really the face of what Warhorses football is all about.”
Playing college football is a “dream come true,” Woods said. “This is the dream I’ve had since the first time I ever touched a football,” he said.
Woods considered other NCAA Division III programs outside of the area, he said. But Brevard College was the right fit for a couple of reasons.
“Their communication since they began talking to me has been outstanding,” Woods said. “Everything they say they’re going to do, they do, and being a man of your word is important to me.”
Attending Brevard also allows him to stay in Western North Carolina, something that became more important to him as he went through the recruiting process.
“I talked to a lot of schools outside of the mountains and thought it may be fun to go experience life on my own,” he said. “But as time went by I just felt like I couldn’t leave these mountains; I had to stay close.”
Woods will be lining up 45 miles from Warhorse Stadium when he takes the field for the Tornadoes, who reclassified from NCAA Division II to Division III on a provisional basis prior to the 2017-18 school year. Brevard College played a 10-game schedule last year as a provisional member of the USA South Conference. It finished 4-6 under head coach Bill Khayat in his first season.
The Tornadoes get a player with a tremendous work ethic, demonstrated in the weight room since his sophomore season, Padgett said.
“I remember halfway through Kaleb’s sophomore year, we pulled him up to varsity,” Padgett said. “We saw potential in him not just as a player but as a leader. Watching his growth has been rewarding.”
Woods came to the varsity team weighing under 150 pounds, Padgett recalled.
“He has worked so hard to get where he is now,” he said. “Now he’s around 220 pounds. He’s worked so hard in the weight room.”
Woods will take that same determination and work ethic to the campus of Brevard College.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t have a weight in my hand,” he said. “When there’s nobody there to cheer you on, you have to push yourself, and you can always do one more rep.”
Barely able to sleep since making his decision, Woods said he can’t wait to put on Brevard’s blue and white. But as Padgett likes to say, “once a Warhorses, always a Warhorse.”
“Everybody that knows Kaleb knows he bleeds maroon,” he said.