• Joseph Santoliquito

ARCHBISHOP WOOD'S TOMMY SANTIAGO IS READY TO EXPLODE HIS SENIOR YEAR

Tommy Santiago admits it. The Archbishop Wood senior tailback, who will return in the fall as one of the best high school football players in Southeastern Pennsylvania, is frustrated by the numerous players he’s faced committing to this college or that school.


Tommy Santiago rushed for 1788 yards and 20 touchdowns his junior year. Photo courtesy of Santiago family.

Tommy Santiago admits it. The Archbishop Wood senior tailback, who will return in the fall as one of the best high school football players in Southeastern Pennsylvania, is frustrated by the numerous players he’s faced committing to this college or that school.


Meanwhile, he waits.


Santiago is a 6-foot, 190-pound two-way standout that rushed for 1,788 yards and 20 touchdowns his junior year.


After this football season, he wants to turn pro as a fighter, like his older brother, Milt, an undefeated pro who began fighting his junior year at William Tennent High School.

Santiago will be entering this season with some added fire.


He’s gained the attention of American Athletic Conference schools like Army and Temple, who have shown interest, along with Iowa and Kent State and Division II powerhouse West Chester. But no one school has stepped forward to give him a scholarship offer.


“The frustrating part is I don’t know why,” said Santiago, who possesses that rare blend of power and speed. “This year, I’m working harder than I’ve ever did to handle the load. We lost a lot to graduation and I know everyone is going to look to me to handle the pressure.

“I struggled my freshman year, but my GPA is back up to around a 3.0. I should hit the 3.0 GPA this year. A lot of schools have reached out to me, but it makes think that I have a lot more to prove this year.”


IMG Academy called and showed interest in Santiago his sophomore year, but the running back/defensive back wanted to stay home. Santiago said he didn’t want to move away from home and not see his family.


Santiago would like to try and get up to 200 pounds by the time football season begin. He sees himself as a running back in college. His clips are a great selling point. He can either blow by defenders or run over them.


“I want to rush for at least 2,000 yards and pass everything I did last year, which, hopefully, will lead to getting offers from schools,” Santiago said. “I think of myself more as a power running back, but I am getting faster.”


Tommy Santiago is torn between playing college football or starting a pro boxing career. Photo courtesy of Santiago family.

Santiago ran a 4.5-second in the 40-yard dash at the Wake Forest camp this past spring. Two of Santiago’s interceptions were pick-sixes.


Wood reached the PIAA 5A semifinals, where the Vikings lost to Penn Hills.

Every defense Santiago meets will be primed to stop him.


He knows it.


“I’m ready for it,” Santiago said. “I’m a fighter and you say it’s part of my nature. I definitely want to play college football. I’m trying to deal with it. I’ll be playing college football for somebody.

“I would like to do both, play football and box in college. I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to do that, though. I know I can play as well or better than some kids I have seen get D-I offers. That’s what bothers me the most. You do all of this work, you have success on the field, and you wonder what these scouts are looking at. I just have to push harder, and get better.” *




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