By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(May 15, 2014) – Briar Woods High School senior Matt Wolcott has committed to continue his football career under head coach Everett Withers at James Madison University starting in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“I feel like all of my hard work over the past six years has paid off,” said the 6-foot Wolcott. “I’m excited to be able to play at the next level and be attending such a great school.”
While playing football at the collegiate level is the dream of many boys around the country, Wolcott’s decision to attend the growing school in Harrisonburg had academic ties.
“I chose JMU over other schools that were recruiting me because of their academic reputation,” Wolcott noted. “I also wanted to be a part of the new era of Dukes football.”
The Division I-AA Dukes started their rebuild with a new regime as James Madison hired longtime football coach Everett Withers to take over their program with his first season being in the fall of 2014. Withers has coached in the NCAA for Louisville, Ohio State and North Carolina and in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans.
“[Withers] wants every player to be the best student, and athlete, that a person can be,” said Withers who will serve as a long snapper for the Dukes. “I feel that a lot of what he is bringing to JMU is what I have experienced under coach Pierce at Briar Woods, and I am excited to be a part of the intensity, the commitment, and the discipline he is bringing to JMU.”
Withers, Wolcott, Stone Bridge High School senior Richard Xu and Woodgrove High School senior Stephen Root have their work cut out for them after the Dukes finished their 2013 campaign at 6-6 including a 3-5 record in the Colonial Athletic Association.
“Over my high school career I had over 280 consecutive error free special teams’ snaps,” Wolcott said. “I feel that my consistency and reliability can contribute to [JMU’s] success.”
His near 300 successful snaps helped Briar Woods to four straight VHSL state championship appearances winning the AA Division 4 state title in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
“It was an honor to play for Briar Woods over the past four years. I have learned a lot from my teammates and coaches. Coach Pierce always pushes everyone to be their best, both on and off the field, which I feel is one the most important lessons I have learned playing at Briar Woods,” Wolcott said. “Coach Jared Develli was also a big part of my special teams success. His knowledge and help has improved my game. The brotherhood of being on the team was something special; it was like a family with how close everybody was.”
Along with Pierce and Develli, Wolcott wanted to extend a thank you to his long snapping coach Chris Rubio.
“He was the coach that helped me to perfect my snap and taught me the skills that I can continue to improve and use to compete at the next level.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!