COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Few players have captured the imagination of college football fans like George Woodard, who will be immortalized with his induction into the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.
Woodard, hailing from the tiny southeast Texas town of Cedar Lake, combined the size of an offensive lineman with the speed of a world class sprinter. That unheard of combination of size and speed at the fullback position in then-head coach Emory Bellard’s famed Wishbone offense made Woodard a nearly unstoppable force in the old Southwest Conference.
When asked how much “Big Woo” weighed during his playing day, Bellard told Sports Illustrated: "I don't know what George weighs. I just know he weighs more than he did at birth but less than King Kong."
Added then-Texas Tech head coach Steve Sloan: "He's not a fullback, he's a Winnebago."
Even Texas A&M’s legendary athletic trainer Billy Pickard, a member of the Athletics Hall of Honor, weighed in on the subject.
“Our PE department conducted a test and submerged George in a tank of water," Pickard said. "They found he had only 3% more body fat than a normal person of his build. They told us they didn't think George would ever get much below 260."
The district champion in the 100-yard dash and the shot put at Van Vleck High School, Woodard was an immediate success at Texas A&M. He set the Aggies’ freshman rushing record with 604 yards, which included 100-yard games against LSU, Baylor, SMU and Rice, while helping the 1975 team rise as high as No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 and a share of the Southwest Conference title.
He followed his big freshman season by becoming the first Aggie running back to post consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns. Woodard rushed for 1,153 yards with a school record and SWC-best 17 touchdowns in 1976 while helping the Aggies to a berth in the Sun Bowl, and 1,107 yards in 1977 when the team earned a spot in the Bluebonnet Bowl. A freak injury kept him out of action in 1978 and he was limited to just 47 rushing yards as a fifth-year senior in 1979.
A four-year letterman (1975, 76, 77, 79), Woodard finished his career with 2,911 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns. His rushing total ranked No. 2 in school history when he finished and still ranks No. 6, while his 35 rushing scores were a school record and still rank No. 4.
Joining Woodard in the Class of 2018 are Bronson Burgoon ’09 from men’s golf, Kip Corrington ’87 from football, A’Quonesia Franklin ’08 from women’s basketball, Laura Jones Hahn-Conti ’06 from volleyball, Claude Riley, Jr. ’84 from men’s basketball, Kati Jo Spisak ’06 from soccer. Steve Stevens ’62 is the Hall of Honor inductee and David Heath ’76 is the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
The 41st-annual Burgess Banquet is open to the general public. A reception begins at 6 p.m. with dinner beginning at 7 p.m. Event sponsorship opportunities and individual tickets are still available by calling the Lettermen's Association (979-846-3024) or at 12thman.com/burgessbanquet.