There are a lot of people who will tell you they are not surprised by Asiantii Woulard winning the MVP at the recent 2012 Elite 11 quarterback competition.
Most of those same people wouldn't have said the same thing prior to the week-long event. With the exception of Asiantii's father, most would be lying if they said they expected him to win the honor bestowed on what has become widely accepted as the top quarterback in America.
Woulard, who is committed to USF, quarterbacked the Top Recruits Now Central Florida all-star 7-on-7 team, which won the Suncoast tournament this summer and also took third place at the IMG Academy's Madden Southeast Regional tourney.
Woulard's development has been quite obvious this summer. There are intangibles about the senior quarterback that weren't there last year. He carries himself differently, he commands respect and he's more mature about how he handles himself in the huddle and how he handles his decision making on the field.
And it's all of those characteristics that have me thinking we are in for a special season with the Winter Park quarterback. His athleticism is obvious. No one can question that. In the past, however, his mentality had come into question with many of his coaches, past and even present.
Last year was Woulard's first as a full-time starting quarterback at the varsity level. His numbers were solid. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns, although he did have 10 picks. Solid numbers, indeed, for most QBs.
I wasn't sure what to expect last year out of Woulard, but I expected more. I expected him to light up opposing defenses with the weapons he had at his disposal. Seniors Dvario Montgomery and Xavier Amerson were the best 1-2 receiving duo in Central Florida heading into the season, and there was also talented sophomore Gabe McClary.
Winter Park struggled to a 6-5 record. Players fought and pointed fingers at each other. Threw helmets, pouted on the sidelines. I witnessed this on several occasions. There is probably not one person to blame. Woulard may have even blamed himself at times.
That was last year. Asiantii Woulard looks like a completely different person as camp approaches with the first day of fall practice set for Monday.
Nothing has made that more clear to me than watching Woulard at a Top Recruits Now combine Sunday at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. He showed up not to work out, but to help, and did he ever.
Unfortunately only one other quarterback came to throw in West Orange junior Hayden Griffitts, but it was Griffitts who became the sole beneficiary of what Woulard was there to offer.
For a better part of the two hours of 1-on-1 drills, Woulard became a personal tutor for the up-and-coming Griffitts, who is one of the top QBs on the Brigham Young recruiting board for 2014.
“It's easy to relate to Asiantii because he's doing the same thing that I'm doing at the same time. Asiantii knows what's going on now and I learned a lot from him,” Griffitts said Sunday. “Him just getting back from the Elite 11 … he told me all of this stuff that he learned while he was there and there's always something to learn, so this was awesome. It was a great experience.”
That's the Asiantii Woulard people do not see. That's the maturity level to which he has risen. This year we'll see it. He's already demonstrated his mental toughness in winning the Elite 11 title, the competition for which lasted seven days.
“I'm just working .. it's all I can do. Just work and not worry about all the other stuff,” Woulard said.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.