Last fall, quarterback Tommy Garlick provided Ursinus’ sports information director with ample job security.
Someone had to register all of Garlick’s record book changes.
Garlick set Ursinus’ career completions record on Oct. 20. Two weeks later in his penultimate regular season game, Quakertown’s Garlick broke Ursinus’ career yardage record in a 27-24 win at Franklin & Marshall.
Garlick fired for 303 of them in his then sixth 300-yard career game.
“In every snap that we take, the quarterback has to make a decision to put stress on the defense. (Garlick) can do that very, very well,” assessed Ursinus head coach Peter Gallagher. “He’s a tough kid, one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached, and he is certainly one of the best players Ursinus has ever had. He has dynamic ability to run, pass and make decisions. And he is a true fighter no matter what the situation is.”
Garlick broke Frank Vecchio’s school career completion mark in the regular season finale – a 31-0 shutout over Dickinson. In a 70-14 drubbing of Misericordia in the Nov. 17 Centennial-MAC Bowl Series game, Garlick threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns.
“Before I came in, (Ursinus) wasn’t doing too hot and my freshman year we went 2-8,” Garlick reminded. “For my class, the senior class, to come from a 2-8 season and finish last year with a 70-14 bowl win was huge. It only helps the morale and the confidence that we have coming into this year. It definitely helped our recruiting.”
Garlick’s bowl performance eclipsed Vecchio’s 19-year-old mark for most yards in a season; the new standard is 2,772.
The next record in jeopardy of falling is Vecchio’s 43 career touchdown passes. Garlick has 34.
Garlick also moved past 1,000 career rushing yards against Dickinson. “In almost every one of our running plays,” Garlick explained, “I have the option to pull the ball and run. It creates another element where teams have to game plan and it opens up our pass game. A lot of our play action builds off of the triple option and speed option fakes.
“It’s also helpful for when stuff breaks down in the pocket and I can scramble out and make plays on the run, even on designed pass plays. Something I work on a lot in the offseason is keeping my legs fresh,” Garlick concluded.
Garlick had Division I offers while at Archbishop Wood yet got somewhat lost in the recruiting process when he transferred to Quakertown as a junior. Childhood friend and Ursinus Bear Alec Vera, Quakertown’s quarterback, convinced Garlick to visit campus.
“They were coming off of a three-win season, but for some reason that attracted me,” Garlick offered. “Coach Gallagher told me that I would have the opportunity to start right out of the gate.”
“We saw his competitive nature in leading Quakertown to a big year in his senior year,” Gallagher shared. “He had the ability to not only throw and run but to make the big plays to finish drives and put the ball in the end zone.”
As a prep junior, Garlick played receiver and caught three touchdown passes from Vera as the Panthers went 11-2. “I wasn’t trying to mess up what they had going with Alec at quarterback,” Garlick emphasized. “I was going to do whatever I could to help the team.” Quakertown went 10-3 in 2015 with senior Garlick behind center.
“A week before our first scrimmage,” Garlick recalled, “Coach Gallagher sat me down and said ‘I want you to be the starting quarterback for the next four years. Are you going to be able to handle that?’ I remember saying, ‘Absolutely. There is nothing I want more.’ In our first game, we played Bethany down in West Virginia. I threw five interceptions.”
“That’s not something we were concerned about. What people don’t see,” Gallagher reminded, “is two or three interceptions got batted into the air and were dropped balls. In his college debut, he threw for 300 yards. His ability to dump it to some tremendously talented running backs or go to the second option: more snaps and his maturity have seen him blossom in that regard.”
“That game really humbled me,” Garlick admitted, “and it made me want to work that much harder to put my team and myself in the best position to win.”
Garlick’s sophomore year marked the first time in five autumns that he played the same position for the same school in consecutive seasons.
“By my sophomore year, I felt really, really comfortable with the system. I sat in and watched film with (offensive coordinator) Coach (Dave) Rackovan and Coach Gallagher often,” Garlick said.
Last season at Ursinus, Garlick ironically threw two touchdowns to Vera.
Fellow Panther Zach Gravelle also caught 25 passes for the Bears.
Ursinus loses Vera and other important targets, but esprit de corps runs high for its Sept. 7 home opener with Bethany. The Bears went 8-3 in 2018.
“We have a nucleus of seniors, and I think that they have started to learn how to win, which is not an easy thing to do,” Gallagher pointed out, “and learn how to win consistently and learn how to win when things don’t go well.”
“The three other captains and I organize workouts as often as we can to get all of the skill guys, and even some linemen, together. I have a really good feeling going into camp this year. We’ve got Zach back and we’ve got a couple of young guys who looked good in the spring. I’m excited to see how they do,” Garlick concluded, “when the pads come on.”