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Sire Woods' biggest sports idol is his close family friend and former Patriots player, Willie McGinest

Credit: Gary Lin

1. Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Sire Woods. Born and raised in Long Beach, California. I’m a senior in Wharton, and I’m a tight end on the Penn football team.

2. Did you grow up with other athletes in the family?

My really close family friend, who I consider my uncle, played for the Patriots. His name’s Willie McGinest. So, I definitely grew up with someone who had a passion for football.

3. When did football become a passion of yours?

When I was younger, I tried to play pretty much every sport to see which one I liked the most. I’ve been playing football since I was four years old, but it eventually narrowed down to football and karate. My dad is a third-degree black belt. In high school, I started to really love the competition aspect of football and ultimately decided I wanted to play at a college level.

4. Which three words would you use to describe yourself as an athlete?

Energetic, driven, competitive.

5. Who is your biggest sports idol?

Definitely my uncle, Willie McGinest. Knowing he grew up in the same neighborhood I came from, and that he went to USC, then to the NFL, winning multiple Super Bowls — he’s a big role model in my life. 

6. Do you have any game day rituals?

Yeah, I definitely have some rituals. I have the normal ones — left sock and left shoe first. I also have to warm up with Ryan Glover before every game.

7. What is your favorite part of playing football for the Red and Blue?

Definitely the people. I love my teammates and getting to play alongside them. They really are my closest bros on the team and just being able to play the sport I love with them, it’s really fun.

8. How do you feel you have grown since you were a freshman walking into your first practice on Franklin Field?

I’ve grown a lot mentally, for sure. Coming into college, it was hard to pick up the playbook and learn the speed of college football, knowing how to always be mentally on your feet and watching out for the next play. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in terms of playing calm and fluid in that aspect. 

9. What is your favorite football memory ever?

My junior year of high school, we had our regional game against our rival, La Salle. Those guys talked smack the entire season, so that was a fun win for sure. Everyone stormed the field after we won, and we went on to win States that year. That was definitely special.

10. Do you have a favorite class you have taken at Penn?

URBS 140, people call it Life 101. Brandon Copeland was the professor, who plays in the NFL. That was definitely my favorite class. I learned a lot of stuff I’ll actually use in my life. 

11. Did you develop any new hobbies over quarantine?

It’s not necessarily new, but I started playing the ukulele again. Was a great stress reliever for sure. 

12. Are you currently binging any shows?

I’m a big anime guy, which is probably a surprise to people. So, right now "Attack on Titan" is my main show.

13. Who should we look out for next year in the Red and Blue?

I have to give the obvious answer: Ryan Cragun. He’s been ballin’ out for us big time the past couple years. He’s also a Cali boy and I know he can handle his own and do great things for us next year.

14. What’s your biggest piece of advice to someone looking to one day be in your shoes as a Division I football player?

My big mantra is to take every day one step at a time, and to be sure you’re doing something to better yourself every day. Every day counts, and it all builds up to hopefully getting you whatever you’re setting your mind on achieving.

15. What do you hope to be remembered by here at Penn?

I would hope that I’ve been a good energy to be around and that I was able to help my teammates through some rough patches. Hopefully, my energy has helped them out and has been uplifting for the team. The nice guy that everyone could come talk to.