Fond memories come to mind when fans mention Goo Baby around the Pit in Gallatin.
A unique three-year starting running back for coach Calvin Short, Carl “Goo Baby” Woods went on to become the school’s third all-time leading rusher with 3,851 yards in a career, and is also third in single-season yards with 1,887 set in 1982.
Over Woods’ three years at Gallatin, the Green Wave went 33-5 and finished the 1982 season state runners-up to Lincoln County.
“When you came to the Pit, you knew you were in for a long night,” Woods said. “The practices were tougher than the games. We were all close friends in high school, but when practice came we did not give an inch.”
Woods got the privilege his senior season to share the Friday night lights in the Pit with his little brother Thomas “TD” Woods. He recalls TD having ‘hands like glue’ and someone that could ‘fly’ up and down the field.
“When we lost him for the ’82 state championship against Lincoln County that hurt,” Woods said. “That allowed them to key in on me.”
The Green Wave fell 13-10, enduring their only loss of the season.
Heavily recruited after high school, Goo Baby had a decision to make regarding his college football career and where he would play.
“I started going to see my best friend Arnez Perry play (at Vanderbilt),” Woods recalls. “I got to hang out with him, play ball with some of the guys, so I am feeling comfortable there. I watch their Hall of Fame Bowl, and I think to myself, ‘all they need is a running back,’ so I signed.”
In Woods’ first season in Nashville, he played in 11 games, totaling 160 carries for 644 yards and four touchdowns. He added 21 receptions for 184 yards. His 181 plays from scrimmage ranked fifth in the SEC that season.
Woods had found himself a home on West End.
“I am having a great time,” he said. “My family can come and see me play; everyone knew me, and life was good.”
Throughout the next three seasons at Vanderbilt, despite numerous injuries, Woods played in all 11 games every year, finishing with 619 carries for 2,490 yards, good enough for fourth on the all-time rushing list at Vanderbilt. He also scored 16 touchdowns over his career, with 15 coming on the ground. He left Vanderbilt with 2,941 total yards from scrimmage.
Following his four-years at Vanderbilt, Woods regrets not taking the Senior Bowl invitation due to a nagging high ankle sprain.
“I was never the same running back after that,” Woods said. “I probably should have taken the invitation and seen how I performed on the ankle.”
Woods was still invited to the combine and after going undrafted in the 1986 draft, Woods signed with Seattle before being bounced around due to injury before settling down with New England in 1987.
Woods appeared in two games for the Patriots rushing four times for 20 yards and one touchdown.
He would go on to retire following the 87’ season.
“I never thought about the Canadian League, but I probably should have,” Woods added. “When you are 21, you do not think about those kinds of things.”
Goo Baby now lives in Antioch but still calls Gallatin home. He works for a trucking business out of Nashville doing what he loves.
“I love what I do. I enjoy being outside and driving. I am not an office guy. I am very humbled to be doing what I am doing. I am very grateful.”
Carl “Goo Baby” Woods was elected to the Gallatin High School Hall of Fame Class of 2020 earlier this year.