CAMDEN, N.J. (BVM) — TaQuan Woodley made a basketball commitment to Penn State at the end of his junior year at Camden High School. But, five months later, the senior power forward reopened his college recruitment process after coaching changes for the Nittany Lions.
This fall, Woodley shared a personal story about his life growing up before stating that he was committed and signed to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks instead.
“Being taken from my parents put in foster care going home to home then getting adopted, then getting kicked out of schools, getting in trouble in the streets, getting arrested getting charged following the wrong crowd, going to detention centers on probation, my life was going downhill, but I found something that I love & that’s basketball,” wrote Woodley on his Instagram last month.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior’s love for basketball clearly shows on the court. ESPN has ranked him as the No. 6 player in New Jersey. It’s no wonder why Woodley was given offers from multiple Division I programs including Georgia, Rutgers, St. John’s, Temple, South Carolina and Penn State. But Woodley made his announcement that he would no longer be a future Nittany Lion due to the resignation of head coach Pat Chambers.
“The recent resignation of Pat Chambers from his position as Penn State’s Men’s Basketball Head Coach is the primary reason for this decision,” Woodley wrote in a Twitter statement announcing the reopening of his college recruitment process. “I have gotten to know Coach Chambers very well and looked forward to playing for him at Penn State.”
Woodley is one of three recruits to step away for that same reason, both Elijah Hutchins-Everett and Houston Mallette also backed off their pledges to play for the Nittany Lions, leaving Penn State with zero recruits from the Class of 2021.
With the uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff, Woodley started to look at his other options immediately and within weeks narrowed down the programs to his top five. Those included Georgia, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, St. John’s and South Carolina.
He is now signed and set to play for coach Frank Martin as a Gamecock next year. He will be joining fellow incoming freshmen Devin Carter and Jacobi Wright who have also signed, as well as Carlous Williams who has given his hard commitment to the program.
Woodley still has one season left to play for his high school and can focus on a great season now that he does not have to worry about finding a college to attend. After being vulnerable about what his life was like growing up, he can also continue to look towards a successful future for himself.
“I never would’ve thought I would have made it this far. After going through so much in life,” Woodley said.