Woodside fulfills dream of Iowa boy

The e-mail arrived on my computer on July 4, 2020 at 2:13 p.m.

It was from Keith Woodside.

Naturally my first thought was of the former Vidalia Viking and Texas A&M standout and third-round pick of the Green Bay Packers.

But instead it was one of the most intriguing e-mails I have received in quite a while.

“Hello Joey,

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to ask for your help. I received a letter in the mail at work from a young kid in Iowa. I’m not sure how he found me or my work address in Arizona, but inside the envelope he included a football card, a letter and a check for $10. He is trying to finish his Grandpa’s card signature collection by getting Keith Woodside’s card signed. I unfortunately am not the Keith Woodside he is looking for, but absolutely don’t have the heart to send it back unsigned or without trying to get ahold of Mr. Woodside to get it signed.

Through a quick google search I found and read your article on Keith Woodside. If you have the ability to contact Mr. Woodside and make him aware of this little boy from Iowa I would be beyond thrilled. I’ll attach the photo I have included in my social media posts aimed at getting a connection so you can see the letter for yourself.

Is there any way you can help?”

The printed letter stated:

“Mr. Woodside,

Would you please sign your one card? I am trying to finish this set my grandpa started.

I only have 10 to go. He always coach in the high school.

Thank you very much for your time. We wish you the best. Be safe.”

And it was signed by a young boy named Jake Giampolo.

Obviously I was all on board to relay the message.

I took a picture of email, including the card and letter and texted it to Keith Woodside of Vidalia fame who now resides in Houston.

On the night of July 7, former Vidalia Viking Keith Woodside calls me letting me know he just saw the text.

After a brief chat, Woodside assured me he would gladly send an autographed card to the young boy and not accept the $10.

 I asked a little more about the other Keith Woodside.

“This has never happened before but I have been aware of Mr. Woodside since I started using the internet and social media,” the other Keith Woodside said, “There’s a video of his that pops up at the top of any search with my name in it and then my results.”

Woodside went on to say he is 30 years old and lives in Phoenix, Az.

“I got my BA in music with an emphasis in voice from Grand Canyon University and I am currently finishing my first year of a doctorate program in occupational therapy at Northern Arizona University,” Woodside wrote. “I also work at a restaurant on the weekends called Hula’s Modern Tiki as a manager/server which is where the card was sent.”

I asked the Arizona Keith for the address of the letter and it was from a Dennis Peppmeier in Urbandale, Iowa.

So I went on Facebook and found a Dennis Peppmeier in Urbandale and sent him a message on Thursday.

I haven’t heard back by Tuesday, but that’s not that unusual trying to communicate with a stranger on social media. It’s kind of like one of those suspected robo calls that you are always wary of answering.

Keith Woodside of Vidalia was still waiting on the package of Keith Woodside of Arizona on Tuesday to pass it on to Iowa.

“I am very humbled by the request,” Woodside said. “I still feel like I am part of the tradition-rich Green Bay program. I am part of a fraternity. I feel obligated to still sign. I get a number of requests, I was raised by my grandmother (Maude Woodside) and she taught me to be well grounded.”

Woodside thrived his junior year of 1986 at Texas A&M with 97 carries for 569 yards (5.9 average) and 52 receptions for 603 yards to finish with 1,172 total yards of offense.

The 11th-ranked Aggies drew No. 16 Auburn in the January 1, 1986 Cotton Bowl. It would be Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson’s final game at Auburn. The Aggies held Jackson to 129 yards in a 36-16 win. Texas A&M (10-2) finished sixth in the nation

Woodside scored in the first quarter on a 22-yard run, and caught a 9-yard D pass from Kevin Murray in the final period.

Woodside finished the Cotton Bowl game with three carries for 32 yards and three catches for 88 yards.

“CBS had Brett Musburger doing play by play and Jim Nantz was the sideline reporter,” Woodside said. “That was a big stage. After that, everybody was saying we’re coming to some games now.”

In his senior year, Woodside had 112 carries for 620 yards (5.5 carries). He caught 25 passes for 237 yards for 857 total yards. Woodside was named first team All-Southwest Conference his junior season.

The Aggies finished 9-3, falling to Ohio State 28-12 in the Cotton Bowl, finishing No. 13 in the nation.

“Ohio State was talking trash and I was talking trash,” Woodside said. “Chris Spielman was the headhunter on that team. My brother (Cedric) told me you took a beating that day. I said, yes I did. But that’s how it goes.”

Woodside finished with 1,720 rushing yards and 1,153 receiving yards, scoring 12 touchdowns.

His 110 receptions was a Southwest Conference record for most receptions by a running back.

Woodside is currently ranked No. 12 in career receptions at Texas A&M.

Woodside said he thought about putting his name in for the NFL Draft after his junior year.

“But Coach Sherrill told me if I stayed I would be drafted in the first three rounds as a senior, but if I went I was going three to five. So I stayed. I thought I should have gone higher.”

Woodside watched the draft from his room at Texas A&M. He was selected in the third round by Green Bay — the 61st pick of the draft.

“That was one of the most aggravating times I had in my life,” Woodside said.  “I had went to church that Sunday morning. I had to leave church because I was so anxious. I got a call from (Green Bay Offensive Backs Coach) Willie Peete, Rodney Peete’s dad. He had come down to work me out. It was a weird workout. He had me behind a goal post and catching the ball on both sides. I really thought it was going to be Cleveland or Seattle, and I really didn’t want to go to either one.”

But the workout with Peete was not the strangest.

“The San Diego Chargers came here and worked me out, right in the Winn Dixie parking lot across from Vidalia High,” Woodside said. “It was raining. Also, Coach Faircloth said the Raiders called to do a background check and talked to him, then the principal and the academic counselor. That’s typical Al Davis. We played the Raiders that year and Al Davis called me (former Aggie) Curtis Dickey twice. I just let it go. But I’m glad with the way things worked out.”

Woodside, who was 5-foot-11, 190 pounds his senior season at A&M, said he was happy with being the 61st draft pick when all was said and done.

“When I played, the 61st pick meant $110,000 to sign, $110,000 the first year, and $130,000 the third year,” he said. “ I re-negotiated my contract after my second year and signed a three-year deal for $1.5 million. At that point, that was huge. I got two years out of it.”

Woodside played at Green Bay under Lindy Infante.

“We were not very good,” Woodside said.

In 1988, Woodside started nine games as a rookie at Green Bay, rushing for 195 yards and scoring three touchdowns, whiles catching 39 passes for 352 yards for the Packers, who went 4-12.

Woodside rushed for 182 yards and caught 24 passes for 184 yards in 1990 as Green Bay went 6-10.

In Infante’s final year before Mike Holmgren came on, Woodside carried the ball 84 times for 326 yards and caught 22 passes for 185 yards. The Packers went 4-12 in 1991.

Woodside was called into the Green Bay front office in the spring of 1992 and was told he was being let go. A projected trade to Dallas was nullified.

Woodside stayed out for three years before signing with Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League where he played for two years, before playing one year with the Birmingham Barracudas of the CFL in 1995.

“Then I was through with it,” Woodside said. “After Birmingham I had surgeries. I didn’t want to limp the rest of my life.

Woodside works for South Atlantic Services, whose headquarters are in Wilmington, N.C. The company, founded in 1971, is one of the top contract packagers in the country, specializing in antifreeze, oil, diesel exhaust fluid, dry chemicals, cleaners and agricultural products.

In May of 1992, Keith Woodside Day was held in Vidalia, with a parade and Woodside being presented a key to the city

“That was very special,” Woodside said. “I’m very happy. I put God first, and then family and football. You have to try and find your niche in society. I’m good.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.