Former Mammoth High School and San Diego State University running back Tyler Wormhoudt (pronounced “wormhowt”) is heading to Saarland to play football in the German Football League (GFL).
Wormhoudt grew up in Mammoth and played football since he was 8 years old. His mother Cindie teaches special education at Mammoth Elementary. His father John is a contractor in southern California and commutes to Mammoth to be with his family. His older brother Gerritt works on crabbing boats in Alaska.
In Wormhoudt’s first year of football, a coach put him at left tackle because he was bigger than other kids. His second season his coach moved him to running back.
He played three years of varsity football at Mammoth High School.
The first three years of high school he played quarterback and running back. His senior year he was only a running back and had a breakout year with he lead the Huskies with 1,266 yards he averaged 126.6 yards per game and scored 13 touchdowns.
“There’s a difference between dropping back to pass and running head first at people. I like running head first at people,” Wormhoudt said.
He recalled a run from his last high school game. A home game. A game winning touchdown.
“I came around the outside. I juked one guy back inside. Then stiff armed another guy to get back outside. Two guys grabbed onto me. I just kept moving my feet. I didn’t know where I was at that point. I was backwards. I was running, running, running. One guy fell off. I kept on going. I threw the other guy down and then all of the sudden I was in the end zone.”
He enrolled at San Diego State University and tried to walk-on to their team.
“I wanted it more than I wanted to breath,” he said.
“Quitting wasn’t really an option.”
He watched practices from the top floor of a parking structure overlooking the practice field. That gave him an idea of how the team conditioned and what their plays were.
On his fourth attempt, as a junior, he made the team.
“The satisfaction of running out of the tunnel for the very first time and you have forty-thousand fans cheering. You’re under the lights. It might have been better than any run I’ve had. It was a moment of gratification, ‘You finally did it.’ ‘You finally made it here.’”
In his two seasons at San Diego State, he had eight carries. He had to back up two premier running backs: Rashaad Penny, who now plays for the Seahawks, and DJ Humphrew, now on the Eagles practice squad. Although they kept him off the field, he credits them with teaching him about being an elite back. “They were awesome,” he said.
He’s dreamt of playing professional football for his entire career.
“The dream became more of a reality after my pro day at San Diego at the end of March 2018.”
He set personal bests. NFL teams contacted him.
He wrote-off getting drafted but hoped to be signed as a free agent.
That fell through, but he stayed in playing shape.
One of his coaches at San Diego State mentioned European Football.
He joked, “I don’t play soccer.”
Wormhoudt set up profiles on recruiting websites.
In the meantime, he helped out with Mammoth High School’s offense and special teams, his first coaching stint.
European teams started to respond. The first team that reached out to him was from Serbia. He declined. He didn’t want to go to Serbia.
He verbally committed to a team in Mallorca, Spain. Then Joe Sturdivant, Head Coach of Saarland, emailed him.Wormhoudt liked Sturdivant’s style, it reminded him of his coaches in San Diego. He signed a one year contract with Saarland.
He’s travelled to Europe, but never been to Germany before.
On May 4, the Saarland Hurricanes open there season against the Wiesbaden Phantoms at home in the Ellenfielstadion at 1700 hrs. Saarland is the name of a German state in the western Germany on the Rhine. Saarbrücken, the capital of Saarland, is the home of the Saarland Hurricanes.
Last season, the Hurricanes finished 4-24 and lost a relegation game. For this upcoming season, they’ll play this season in the GFL’s second league.
“We want to win everything. We don’t want to lose a game. We don’t want to keep any game close,” Wormhoudt said.
Winning everything means winning the GFL 2 League, play in the qualification game, win that game and move Saarland back into the top league.
The seaon ends in October. He might come back and try to make an Alliance of American Football Team (AAF), a league currently in in the middle of its first season. The AAF season started in February. Maybe you’ll see Wormhoudt on the San Diego Fleet next winter.
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