Lafayette’s Woodall reflects on career, future
John Davis: How long have you been training?
Justin Woodall: I’ve been training here for my second year.
Davis: How many clients do you have now?
Woodall: This gym has been open close to a year and we’ve got somewhere between 50 and 60 clients. We do classes, too, so we have athletes and we do CrossFit classes.
Davis: Do you work with any sport?
Woodall: We have basketball, baseball, football and wrestling. Those are most of our clients. We have a lot of high school athletes like Justin Johnson, who just committed to play football at Mississippi State.
Davis: How do you like it? Is this something you would keep doing?
Woodall: I didn’t know I was going to like it like this. I really do like it. If I wasn’t playing ball, this is probably what I would be doing. I have a lot of NFL friends and baseball friends, so, me trying to travel and shape them, if baseball doesn’t work out, that’s what I’m going to do.
Davis: Do you feel like you’re making a difference in the lives of the athletes that you train?
Woodall: I think it took a lot of things off my back because I feel like I let a lot of people down. They expected me to be something and I didn’t do it. This right here, it got that stress off my back. It’s OK.
Davis: How long have you been feeling that stress?
Woodall: The last couple of years. It was really after the (NFL) combine. That’s when I decided to try baseball again. They kept calling me and I decided to try it. (The Rays) drafted me, but when I was playing baseball, I was still thinking about football. That was my love, love, love. Now, things are better. I talk to people; I don’t just hold everything in. I let people know how I feel. I let my mama and my dad know how I feel. They didn’t know what was wrong with me.
Davis: So what was wrong with you?
Woodall: I just felt like I let a lot of people down. And I made some bad choices. Not bad, bad – not any trouble with the police – but there were some choices I could have made like coming out of the combine and dealing with agents and training. I could have taken a different path.
Davis: So you’re going to give baseball another go? What does that mean?
Woodall: I’m going to try out with the (Birmingham) Barons when the season is over and try to get a few workouts to see what it would look like. If it doesn’t work out, this is what I will be doing. My best friend, he stays with me. He does music and he’s about to sign a deal with Live, the mixed tapes app on the I-phone. He’s about to sign a management deal with them, so I’m between the training and there. When I get done here, I go to the studio with him. I’m doing a lot of little stuff. Then I’m going to finish school probably in the spring. I’ve got a couple of more hours to finish.
Davis: So you haven’t officially graduated from Alabama?
Woodall: Not officially. Baseball threw me off, and when I was playing baseball, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t do on-line classes because I was playing everyday. Now I have time and I can go on and finish. I’m going to go back and talk with Coach Saban.
Davis: What was the greatest part about playing for Alabama?
Woodall: I think the relationships and the fans. The atmosphere. And also winning.
Davis: How great was playing in the BCS National Championship out in Pasadena and beating Texas?
Woodall: It was something that I will never forget. I can’t say that it was the most exciting game I ever played in. I could say that the SEC Championship the game before that was the one that had me more wired than that game.
Davis: The game where you played Florida in Atlanta?
Woodall: Yes, that same year, in the SEC Championship.
Davis: That was your last year. How big of a difference was it between Saban and Coach (Mike) Shula?
Woodall: It was a big difference. The intensity goes through the roof. Shula is more laid back. Coach Saban, he’s real intense and serious about what he does on the field. Everything on the field is real serious. Everything off the field, he’ll joke around every now and then. That’s about all. He goes about his business.
Davis: So what we see with Saban is what you get, and what you see a lot of times in practice?
Woodall: Oh yeah. You’re going to get the same one. You know how he answers his questions. He doesn’t really like answering questions. He doesn’t like the media too much.
Davis: Does he always give you good points as a player?
Woodall: I can say that he taught me a lot about life playing for him. He taught me a lot about discipline. He’s not just a football guy. He will teach you about life and I can say that I took a lot from him. I used to not know what ‘pay attention to detail’ meant. But now I know. When you get finished playing, you see stuff. It’s like it’s easier.
Davis: You said to me that football may not be totally out, is that right?
Woodall: Football isn’t out of the question for me because of (Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle) Andre Smith. He’s my best friend. He works out with me, we train him, too.
Davis: What did you learn the most from playing baseball whether it was at Lafayette or in the pros? You have always had the ability to throw the ball past people, is it the freedom to throw the ball past people you like the most?
Woodall: In high school it was. But when you get to the pros, you can’t really do that anymore. You can do it sometimes if you hit the right spot. I learned when I got into the pros that just throwing it, that wasn’t going to get it. You have to hit your spots. I was starting to learn that really well. I was starting to get it. I had a setback with drug testing, with amphetamines. They put in the media like I was on methamphetamines. I don’t even know how to use that stuff. I don’t even know what that is.
Davis: What caused that test to be positive?
Woodall: It probably was Adderall. It was an energy booster. It wasn’t hardcore drugs. I’ve never been around something like that. How they put me out in the paper, it was like I was some kind of meth head and all that. As a baseball player, I didn’t know how to come out of that, who to approach with that on my background. When I was with the Rays, they told me I was starting to become one of their top prospects. I was learning so fast and I still had my velocity. They were surprised I still had it. A bad decision on the energy thing. That’s what happened.
Davis: And you were getting close to regaining your old form?
Woodall: When I got to the Rays, I started learning a lot more. I started showing progress. And they loved me because I had a great work ethic. I worked my butt off everyday. I did extra every day. It wasn’t a work thing. They still drafted me.
Davis: So you’re going to be working people out and trying for the Barons the next few months?
Woodall: And working on my license for this (training), yes.
Davis: How do you get your license to become a trainer?
Woodall: They say they’re going to take me through it. I can do my internship here since I’m already doing this. Mike McCoy, the guy that I’m in business with, is going to tell me what I need to do for that.
Davis: Do you still go to Alabama games?
Woodall: I’m going to be down there probably a lot this season. I’m going to be around a lot of the high school games.
Davis: How often do you get back home?
Woodall: I don’t get back home often because I’ve been busy, but once a month I try to get back. My mom comes up here about once a month as well. I’m going to try and do some training there and some camps. I want to do some football and baseball camps. I’m trying to get it all sorted out. My marketing guy that will run it, I have to sit down and talk with him. If it goes all like planned, we’ll have one of the warehouses in Oxford.