Homegrown: The Charlie Woerner story will read a bit differently than most
EDITOR’S NOTE: This original Charlie Woerner story continues a special series in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau profiling homegrown talent from the state of Georgia. To access the other HomeGrown Talent articles please visit the series hub on DawgNation.com.
Charlie Woerner had a 10 a.m. class his senior year of high school. It was his first class of the day.
It allowed him to hunt in the early mornings with his brother Peter before school. Those hunts bagged a wild turkey and a hog, among other game.
Woerner, like the six other siblings in his family, basically grew up outdoors.
There’s a story or two from his high school days that reflect his interests and hobbies at the time.
It will be a departure from the connections he has coming from a family of educators with one very famous All-American uncle (the College Football Hall of Famer Scott Woerner) who also played at Georgia.
This narrative will seek to break apart from all of that. Woerner is, after all, his own man. The senior tight end is set to be one of three captains for the Bulldogs on Saturday as they host Murray State.
Woerner was the type of do-everything player at Rabun County that shined all over the football field.
He collected knives coming up. His father, Kent, did some work at an auction house. Woerner would come over whenever they had new inventory and buy some of those. He’d then sell them on eBay.
But then there was also that time he sampled that deer heart. It was fried up in a pan and everything.
“My brother Peter shot a deer, so I went out and found it for him,” Woerner said back in 2015. “We brought it back and skinned it and cleaned it. Then my buddy Eli and I broke open the chest cavity and tore out the heart and went and fried it in the pan and it tasted pretty good. Mom was pretty mad about it because it smoked up the whole house, but it was really good.”
That didn’t taste like chicken. He said it tasted more like the tenderloin of a deer back then.
Charlie Woerner is one of 10 signees left at UGA from 2016
Woerner now rooms with Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Those two are working on trying to fish or hunt every good private spot within 45 miles of Clarke County. That’s when their time away from the team allows it.
It is an interesting twist to when he chose Georgia. The Rabun County great basically only knew Jacob Eason and Ben Cleveland on the team when he committed to Georgia. That was all he needed.
Woerner had the good sense back then to make his decision based on what he felt and what he wanted out of college. Not what others were going to do.
“College football is a business,” Charlie Woerner said back during the 2015 season. “Coaches come and go so you can’t commit based on a coach who could be gone the next day or the next season.”
Woerner said then he’d even go to UGA if Mark Richt was no longer the head coach.
“It would be a little weird,” Charlie Woerner said. “It would definitely be a curveball not knowing who the head coach is going to be. But I guess I am more committed to (the) Georgia football than I am all of the coaches.”
He wasn’t active on social media. He still doesn’t waste his time with that.
When he chose the Bulldogs, he was also interested in Alabama and Clemson. He also hoped to take advantage of a trip to check out Oregon, but that was likely just too far.
Woerner simply took two trips to check out colleges during the summer prior to his senior season. Both of those were to Georgia. His lead recruiter at the time was Jeremy Pruitt.
That decision came down to a series of simple things.
“It wasn’t one thing you know to make me go to Georgia,” Charlie Woerner said back in 2015. “It was kind of like a checklist where you kept checking stuff off through a recruiting process with UGA and finally I just knew that it was the place for me to go.”
Woerner stayed committed to Georgia from the transition to Mark Richt’s staff to the Kirby Smart era.
He was the nation’s No. 25 WR prospect then but has been exclusively a tight end in Athens. He was already 6 feet, 5 inches and well over 230 pounds during his senior year of high school.
But he could play. He could really play.
He reeled in nine catches for 205 yards and four touchdowns for his Wildcats on one Friday night.
It was not an aberration. The stats he racked up heading into his senior season at Rabun County still boggle the mind.
- 2,302 rushing yards and 35 TDs
- 1,743 receiving yards with 15 TDs
- 323 tackles on defense
- 10 interceptions
- 5 blocked kicks
He was the eighth-highest rated prospect in that class. It is a little-known fact that only 10 of those signees remain as seniors in Smart’s first class.
Eason is at Washington. Mecole Hardman, Elijah Holyfield, Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley are all in the NFL now.
Cleveland and Woerner remain. Of the 10 highest-rated signees of the group, it is just those two plus Michail Carter and Julian Rochester which remain.
The fact he grew up Georgia and now plays for the Bulldogs will always matter to him.
“It means a lot,” Woerner said at a recent media session in Athens. “I was an hour and a half up the road from Rabun County, Georgia. “It is awesome to play for your hometown team and for Georgia. It has meant a lot to me in my time here to play for Georgia. It is really special.”
Homegrown: The things to know about Charlie Woerner
While watching Charlie Woerner compete for Georgia every fall, a few things come to mind.
The first of those was that he was rated as a WR prospect coming out of high school. He was the nation’s No. 133 overall prospect when he signed with Georgia.
He also played everywhere for Rabun County in high school. From defensive back to safety to pass rusher to run stopper to playmaker out wide.
The Woerner name is known around UGA for athleticism and there’s a clip from a high school track practice his senior year which shows just how good of an athlete he was back then.
There’s also the notion of how valuable he has been to the perimeter run game. Woerner is an outstanding perimeter blocker.
So much that his mid-game injury against Oklahoma still comes readily to mind when thinking about how much he would have helped Georgia in that fateful next game against Alabama with a national title on the line.
Woerner showed off more of the same in the season opener at Vanderbilt last week. He also added two catches for seven yards in the 30-6 victory.
One of my big takeaways from Georgia-Vandy is how good Charlie Woerner is as a perimeter blocker. Extension of the OL downfield. He had a bunch of these. pic.twitter.com/ctlZfFrRa8
— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) September 1, 2019
Give his size and all-around skill set, it seems likely that Woerner will join several of those 2016 signees playing on Sundays next season.
Georgia’s Homegrown Talent: The DawgNation series
- Eric Stokes: Homegrown talent? More like UGA Grown
- Jake Fromm: From the Little League World Series to duck holes to the face of a program
- Andrew Thomas develops quickly into a hometown here at UGA
- Warren McClendon: Family roots run 44 years deep for this Georgia family
- D.J. Daniel: Likely impact defensive back took a longer route to Athens
- Travon Walker: Big things are expected on the D-Line from 5-star freshman
- Dominick Blaylock: Talented freshman WR found a homegrown fit in Athens
- Nolan Smith: From “Baby Boy” to a long-awaited Bulldog in Athens