Logan Woodside spends a lot of his time in central Kentucky. He has a particular fondness for Lawrenceburg, his hometown in Anderson County.
It's where Woodside's football story might have ended if he hadn't embraced the chip on his shoulder.
"I train in Lawrenceburg all the time because that’s where I was told I wasn’t good enough to play, and that motivation continues to drive me each and every day," Woodside told the Herald-Leader this week. "When I wake up, I still remember that day, and that’s what pushes me through and makes me want to be successful, ultimately."
Seven years after he couldn't supplant a proven starter at Anderson County High School, Woodside — a 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback out of the University of Toledo — is regarded as a potential late-round steal in the 2018 NFL Draft, expected to go somewhere in the sixth or seventh round. His prospect grade on NFL.com is 4.94, which suggests he should be in an NFL training camp, per the site.
"He's definitely one of those few guys down in the lower rounds that has a chance," Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson said in a video for SI.com.
Woodside ended up transferring to Franklin County High School ahead of his junior season, where he teamed up with star receiver Ryan Timmons to set ablaze defenses across the state. The Flyers averaged 50 points per game in Woodside's first year and 56.6 points the next.
High-level FBS offers poured in for Timmons — who ultimately chose UK over schools like Florida, Ohio State and West Virginia — but not for Woodside. Western Kentucky was the only in-state school interested along with Ohio, Troy, Western Illinois and his eventual destination, Toledo, and none offered until the summer before his senior season.
"That was a tough situation for me because Ryan had a bunch of offers," Woodside said. "At no point was I ever jealous of Ryan or anything because I saw the work that he put in, and he was just naturally a way-better athlete than I was. He could do things that not a lot of people could.
"I found the right fit for me at Toledo. Obviously, did I think I could play in the SEC? Of course I did. I still think that I should have played in the SEC."
Woodside had to settle for the Mid-American Conference, which has produced its share of NFL stars — Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Kareem Hunt, Khalil Mack and Ben Roethlisberger, to name a few — and boasted 77 players on opening-day NFL rosters last season.
"There’s great talent up there," said Woodside, who lauded initiatives like Tuesday Night MACtion that have helped build the conference's national profile. "Eastern Michigan came down this year and should’ve beat Kentucky. We played 'em the next week and I’ll never forget how good their defensive line was. They were talking a bunch of trash to me that entire game. ...
"I think the only difference between the MAC and the SEC is they go 10 deep where our five are really similar but we’ve just got five. I think we can compete with a lot of teams, we’ve proven that."
'The honest truth'
As a true freshman at Toledo, Woodside played in four games in 2013, and early in the 2014 season took over when starter Phillip Ely, an Alabama transfer, tore his ACL. Toledo finished as co-champion of the MAC's West Division and won its bowl game that season but coaches asked Woodside to redshirt his next season and hand the reins back to Ely. At the time it was a tough ask, but Woodside reflects positively on that experience.
"I just got beat out twice. That’s the honest truth," said Woodside, noting that he and Ely, now an offensive coach at Tiffin University, have remained close. "That year I really learned the game of football from a coaching standpoint and what it takes to be successful. 'What’s Coach thinking? Why are we running this play?' I think that really boosted my game because the next two seasons felt totally different."
Woodside assumed starting duties as a junior and threw for 4,089 yards and an FBS-best 45 touchdowns. He added 3,882 yards and 28 TDs as a senior and finished as Toledo's career leader in passing yards (10,514), touchdowns (93) and passing efficiency (162.87).
The school's previous leader in those categories? Bruce Gradkowski, who was drafted by Tampa Bay in the sixth round in 2006 and spent 11 seasons in the league. Woodside feels he's done everything he possibly could do throughout pre-draft events, workouts and visits to put himself in position to take a similar path to the NFL as taken by Gradkowski, who was an inch shorter.
Size is the most frequent negative quality Woodside hears mentioned about his prospect profile. He doesn't lose sight of the fact that he's draft-eligible the same year in which a possible No. 1 pick, 6-foot-5 Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, has divided pundits due to underwhelming college production juxtaposed against his formidable physical profile.
"Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers," Woodside said, "those guys aren’t 6-4 and those guys are the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Tom Brady’s obviously 6-5, but with everything else that doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day there’s 11 guys on offense, 11 guys on defense, and who's gonna make a play when you need to make it? I think it doesn’t really matter what size (they are)."
Woodside's hope is to land in a situation where he can back up an established veteran and take on a "big brother-little brother" mentality. Wherever he's drafted, he doesn't plan on losing that chip on his shoulder along the way. It's what got Woodside to where he is.
Anderson County Coach Mark Peach, who helped provide that motivator, wants to see Woodside play on Sundays.
"We are very proud of Logan and we are pulling for him," Peach said. "We wish him nothing but the very best in the future."