So What Else Is New? T. J. Armstrong Named To Sports Writers All-State For 3rd Time!! (12/23/12)

Three things you can count on this time of year: Christmas, New Years and T. J. Armstrong making the PA Sportswriters Class A All-State Team. Well Christmas will be here on Tuesday, New Years a week later, but T. J. got his Christmas present early, as he was named to the Sportswriters team for the 3rd time in four years, last week.

For the second year in a row, Old Dominion bound, T. J. was named Sportswriters All-State at Linebacker. As a freshman, T. J. was named as a Defensive End. In fact the only year he wasn’t named was his sophomore year. That year T. J. only saw action in one game due to an injury.

(Photo by Bri Nellis)

(Photo by Bri Nellis)

As has been the case for this young man’s entire Varsity career, T. J. turned in some great performances, and his defensive stats attest to that fact. T. J. had 102 tackles, 48 solo, 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

T. J. was a major force in the Bobcats making it to the District Nine Class A Title Game, for the third time in his four Varsity campaigns. The only time the Cats didn’t make it to the title game was in 2010, his injury shortened season.

When asked if it is getting old hat, being selected, T. J. said, “It’s still a thrill. I wish I could have got it my sophomore year. I don’t want to say I expected it. I was really hoping that… 3 years First Team All-State.”

Two teammates T. J. singled out as instrumental in his success are Bubba Rue and Kevin Grejda who were seniors when T. J. was a freshman. He credits them with helping him along and showing him the ropes. In fact he says that Class was his favorite to play with. They were the upperclassmen on the 2009 District Championship Team.

T. J. also made mention of the great support he’s had from his parents, Dr. Robert and Brenda Armstrong. “They believed in me the whole time.” Of his Mother, T. J. said, “… She’s driven me all across the country, just for camps. Any camps I wanted to go to, she’d do it. She’d do anything for me.”

Another person T. J. credits with his success is Ray Beers, from Franklin, who has been instrumental in getting a number of area players recruited. “He got me noticed. He got my name out there. He’s a big, big reason why I got recruited,” T. J. said.

T. J. will be leaving on January 7th, to start his academic and athletic career at Division I Old Dominion, where he is projected as an Inside Linebacker or SAM (Strong Side) Linebacker. T. J. says, “… Real excited about the workouts, to get in shape and everything. Get prepared for spring ball and hopefully try to earn a spot (playing time).”

T. J. is the only player from District Nine named on the Sportswriters Class A All-State Team on Defense and one of only five D-9 players on the squad, with the other four all on Offense.

The other D-9 players are Port Alleghany’s areal duo, Quarterback, Matt Bodamer and Wide Receiver, Nick Conway; Curwensville Offensive Lineman, Spencer Smeal;  and Placekicker, Philip Esposito from Brockway. No D-9 Players were named to the AA, AAA or AAAA squads.

This year’s Class A Player of the Year was Tyler Boyd from the State Champion Clairton Bears who was also named as an Offensive Athlete. Class A Coach of the Year was State Runner-up Dunmore’s Jack Henzes.

Congratulations to T. J. on a fantastic career as a Bobcat. And all the best for a great career as a Monarch. It’s been a pleasure watching you develop over the years and it’s great to know you.