August. 9 – Football wasn’t the only thing Charles Woodson excelled at.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame recruit and defensive back, known as a star on the field everywhere he went from Fremont to Ann Arbor to the NFL, was a prolific athlete outside of football as well.
Even with only two basketball seasons under his belt, in addition to his legendary football career, Woodson showed why he is one of the greatest athletes Ohio State has ever seen.
“Charles was really just an distinguished athlete,” said Frank Geoffer, who coached Woodson in basketball at Fremont Ross. “If he wants to be a Division I basketball player, he really can. If he devote himself to basketball, who knows where he’s going to take his game.”
The big interrogate “what if?” He grew out of two stellar seasons as a basketball player for the Little Giants.
Woodson didn’t play in his first or junior seasons, but his sophomore and junior years produced a similar amount of electricity as he did on the football field.
Woodson, unsurprisingly awarded “Most Athlete” in his first yearbook, broke into the Little Giants lineup and made an immediate impact as a sophomore. He averaged 19.6 Great Lakes League best points per game, which included 20.7 points per game against GLL opponents.
Woodson prioritized football, but demonstrated the levels of talent and toughness coaches crave in basketball players.
“His IQ for athletics whether it’s football or basketball was just on the surface,” said Geoffer, who is now the women’s basketball coach at Terra State Community College in Fremont. “He just understood the game and had his basketball skill set, and that was a part-time thing for him.
“There was no kid tougher than Charles Woodson. Charles had it all. He was tough physically, mentally and emotionally. He had the packed package. He would challenge you to be a better coach and work harder, and he taught us how to work harder and improve ourselves.”
Woodson scored 39 points for a season lofty on February 3. 26, 1993 against Findlay, which included a 10 in the fourth quarter as the Young Giants overcame a 15-point deficit.
“There have been a lot of days in practice where we’ve been watching what he’s doing because he’s an athlete,” Giuffre said. “It was such a fun time training him, and you knew it would be over in the blink of an eye.”
Woodson’s esports began to flourish, but they could soon be shown.
“I think one of my biggest regrets of all was, I was so young when I got the job at Fremont Ross, that I should have promoted him as a freshman,” said Geoffer. “We needed Charles that year. He was in middle school, I thought it would be firm to get him to get here, but that group of seniors needed him. He would have put us on top. I should have done it. Moved him, I still think.” in the matter to this day.”
Woodson improved his scoring output as a rookie, once again leading GLL in scoring with 21.1 points per game.
That season, he raised the bar for himself. in january. On 21, 1995, he achieved a career lofty of 40 points in a running triumph over rival GLL Northview. He also grabbed 10 rebounds in that match.
Woodson was a vast draw for competing players. The competitors knew what would happen when Fremont Ross Little Giants was on the schedule. Former Northview player John Elinwood, who was a junior on the 1994-1995 team and is now Ashland University men’s basketball coach, was in the gym for Woodson’s 40-point performance.
“There was some distinguished talent in Toledo that day, but [Woodson] He said, “It was something really exceptional. You didn’t know it was going to be Heisman [Trophy winner], you didn’t know he’d be a Hall of Famer and have such a distinguished career in football, but in basketball, that game, I came off the bench at the time of my Northview career,…and my best comrade and I were sitting on the the seat.
“Someone fired a 3D pointer for Fremont Ross, and Charles Woodson was in the right corner. When the shot went off, it came off the edge firm, and came running away from the corner. To this day, this was the best dunk I’ve seen in a live game.
“The ball came off the edge and he was running towards the edge from the right corner, and it was just former his head. He got back to grab the ball and grabbed it and put it back and shot it right into the net. My best comrade and I were sitting near the coaches, and he just stood up and started clapping.”
Ellinwood, who has more than 200 wins under his belt as a college coach, drew comparisons between Woodson and another Ohio basketball legend.
“When I watched LeBron James play, it was like ‘Holy Cow,’” Ellinwood said. “Charles had the alike thing. He didn’t play basketball in his freshman year… They were selected to triumph the league in his freshman year, and he decided not to play.
“The player of the year was not playing basketball that year. I got the MVP award in the league that year, but he was superior when it came to everything else.”
Coach Geoffer noted Woodson’s aptitude to influence the planning of his team’s game.
“The other thing when you get a guy like Charles is that he makes you a better coach,” Geoffer said. “You were always inventing ways to get him the basketball to where he would go one-on-one with someone or aid someone else get a wide-begin shot.”
Woodson’s aptitude changed the way rival coaches defended him. After outing against Tiffin Columbian that year, Tornado coach Bob Norton said so.
“We knew there was no one who could match Woodson mathematically…that’s why we used Zone,” Norton said. “We went for diamond and one. That prevented Woodson from getting the ball.”
Woodson scored 36 in that match.
“A player like this comes once in a lifetime, and when you get Charles Woodson as a professional and as a person who has given so much to his community… to see what he has become and to know I was fortunate enough to coach him, you have a sense of pride like no other,” Joffrey said.
Woodson’s basketball brilliance resurfaced from time to time.
In 2000 as the Ryder, he played well in the charity basketball game “Battle of the Bay” against some of the San Francisco 49ers, including Terrell Owens.
When previous Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson in 2018 wanted to wear the No. 2 – No. Woodson – He wanted to get Woodson’s approval to do so. Basketball was the link to how it got done. Patterson’s father, Sean, helped train Fremont Ross in the 1990s.
“My dad trained him in lofty school, in basketball,” Patterson said at the time. “He’s actually a pleasing basketball player.”
First published August 8, 2021 at 11:30 am