Not every great football story starts on turf. David Wohlabaugh’s athletic career began on the ice.
Wohlabaugh, a 6-foot-6 290 pound offensive tackle from Stow, Ohio, enrolled in classes at the University of Kentucky in January. A three-star recruit and the son of a 10-year NFL vet, Wohlabaugh shared with reporters that one of his first loves was actually hockey.
“I played hockey for most of my life,” Wohlabaugh said. “I started skating when I was three years old, actually. I played all the way until my sophomore year of high school so I watched it a lot growing up. I didn’t really have what I would say a favorite team, but I watched the Columbus Blue Jackets a lot because they’re an Ohio team.”
A big body on the rink, he was defenseman that was not afraid to mix it up with his opponents.
“There’s been a few times where some punches have been thrown, for sure. I remember some tussles that I’ve been in before, but nothing like, whistle blown, we’re dropping the gloves, crazy stuff like that. It’s only in the pros and college pretty much.”
Of course, that physicality is evident in his play in the trenches. The brutality of hockey often gets the most highlights, leading many to overlook the athleticism and agility it takes to move effortlessly across the ice. That experience will pay dividends at Kentucky.
“I think some things transition really well to football. In hockey you have to have fast feet and really good feet. I think that helped me with my footwork on the offensive line,” he said. “It for sure helps with balance a lot.”
Wohlabaugh’s hockey days may be done, but the lessons he learned on the ice will provide benefits when it’s his turn to play offensive tackle on the Big Blue Wall.