NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — Tom Wort has loved football all his life. Just not always American football.
The hard-hitting linebacker from Texas' New Braunfels High School committed to Oklahoma in the spring after considering offers from LSU, USC and Florida. But even though the four-star prospect is among the top linebacker recruits in the nation, Wort, born in England, has only been following and playing football for five years.
"The future for Tom is limitless because he's only going to get better,” New Braunfels coach Chuck Caniford said. "His upside is tremendous.”
Wort — who led the Unicorns to the Class 4A state semifinals last season, recording 213 tackles in 14 games — took time to answer questions about growing up overseas, the Red River Rivalry and his favorite American dish:
You were born in England and lived in Rhode Island before eventually moving to New Braunfels. What can you say about that experience?
My whole family is British. 100 percent. When I was 13, my dad got a job out here. He asked us if we wanted to move to the States. So we ended up moving to Rhode Island and were there for three years. We moved here a year ago. I showed up here the end of my sophomore year.
Where in England did you grow up?
Crawley, just south of London, about 15 minutes.
You have only a touch of a British accent.
Yeah, I lost it over the years, living in Texas.
What's the biggest difference between England and America?
The sports are different. It's a lot more dedicated out there. You don't have college sports there.
Did you play American football before moving?
I never played football there. When I moved to the States I started playing eighth-grade football. I just fell in love with it and have been playing it ever since.
Do you feel like you're still picking up nuances of the game since you've only been playing it for five years?
Yeah, I still have a lot of room for improvement, especially learning the game a lot more.
What's the biggest difference between football and soccer?
Contact. In soccer, you can't be aggressive. But in American football you get praised for being aggressive and hitting people. That's what I like about it.
I know you've had some foot problems. How is the left foot doing?
I broke my foot the second game of last season. I thought it was a sprain so I kept playing through it. I ended up getting an MRI and there was a big crack in the bone. I got surgery at the end of the season. It's a 100 percent now. This splint I'm wearing now is from last week, I got cut-blocked late in the game and it caught me awkwardly. I got an MRI today and everything is fine. It's a sprain. Same foot, but different injury.
Note: Wort was unable to play in the second half of Friday's loss to Smithson Valley because of the sprain. Caniford said he doesn't know if Wort will be able to play this week.