If you were paying attention to Woodbury Royals’ football the last five years, you might have been able to see the 2018 season coming. The program was slowing getting better and was starting to end seasons on the better side…
If you were paying attention to Woodbury Royals’ football the last five years, you might have been able to see the 2018 season coming. The program was slowing getting better and was starting to end seasons on the better side of .500. Last season, they finally broke through, won nine games – including two games in the playoffs. One of the reasons for the improvement was on the defensive side of the ball. During their nine wins, the defense didn’t allow more than 18 points. A big part of that defense was then junior Drew Bramlett.
“The team was really close, and I think that is why we went as far as we did,” Bramlett said. “I wish we went further, but it was still a fun year.”
The team stuck together – even when things didn’t initially go their way.
“On both sides of the ball – we never gave up,” Bramlett said. “We were down at halftime in a few games, but we were a fourth quarter team and fought the whole game.”
The Royals’ defense didn’t give up a lot of points, and they forced turnovers as well.
“Our defensive backs could cover, and teams could not run on us as well as they wanted,” Bramlett explained. “They had to pass and that opened up things up for more sacks and turnovers.”
A two-year starter, Bramlett leaned on the experience he gained from his sophomore year.
“I feel like I had a great year. I felt more comfortable than I was as a sophomore – to come back with that experience. I think I made a lot of plays last year. I got a lot of turnovers and hits last year, and I am hoping for more this year.”
Confidence also played a significant role in his improvement.
“I put on a lot of weight between my sophomore and junior years, the 6’1” 195-pound senior said. “Because of that, I was more comfortable with my body and more confident – a lot more confident.”
Last year Bramlett played free safety but would also come down into the box to support the run.”
“I feel like I can cover well – almost any receiver – but I am also physical and am not afraid of contact.”
Although he made plays defensively, he wants to be in a position to make more plays this season.
“I’ve been working on footwork – my backpedal and getting in and out of my breaks,” Bramlett – a part-time receiver as a sophomore – said. “That way I can get to the football faster and make more plays. I have also been working on my route running. I think I am going to be playing a lot more receiver than I did last year.”
Bramlett feels his combination of size and speed will help him on offense.
“I am physical and have height and strength and can get off the line quickly. I think I can win every 50/50 ball.”
After focusing on training in the winter, Bramlett transitioned to the track.
“I ran track to get faster and in condition,” Bramlett explained. “I also have been training with a company that comes into our school.”
His off the track workouts split into two distinct halves.
“First (the workouts) will be focused all on speed, footwork, agility, and acceleration,” Bramlett told northstarfootballnews.com. “The second half was in the weight room.”
College recruiting has started to pick up for the Royals’ senior.
“Recruiting has been kind of slow for me,” Bramlett admitted. “I went to a lot of camps and don’t have any official DI offers yet, but I have a lot of good DII offers. I think I performed well this summer, and got a lot of work on my footwork and backpedal. Each camp I tried to take something from the coaches to help my game.”
Bramlett expects to play defense in college.
“I am being recruited as a safety, but I feel I could play corner or outside linebacker. The (schools recruiting Bramlett) think I have good size to play safety. They like how I can move and run too. They think I am big and athletic.”
He hopes DI offers are still coming, but for now, Bramlett has racked up several DII offers.
“I have offers from Augustana, Minnesota-Crookston, Southwest Minnesota State, and Northern State.”
The Royals had one of their best seasons on the football field in years. This year, Bramlett hopes to help the program make that next step. After that, his next football step will likely take him to a college campus – maybe even a Division I campus.