Armstrong’s love of football starts with Dad and Mountaineers

Jack Armstrong was about 2 when his dad started taking him to WVU football games.
It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with football and the Mountaineers.
“My dad started taking me to WVU games when I was about two years old, so I guess it started there,” he said. “Other than that it was really just about playing backyard football, I figure that’s how everyone falls in love with a sport.”
A Morgantown native, Armstrong is a 2014 graduate of University High.
He just ended his senior season at William & Mary.
As a senior, he played in all 10 games, including nine starts. He ranked third on the team with 18 catches for 195 yards.
He said playing in his final game as a senior was bittersweet.
“For the most part I treated it like any other game,” Armstrong said. “Prepared and played the way I would any other week. The game itself was the same, post-game was emotional. I will say it went by fast though, a lot faster than I ever would have imagined.”
Armstrong redshirted his first year, but played every game since.
He was named team captain his senior season.
“Being voted as a captain by my teammates was a great honor,” Armstrong said. “I think it taught me a lot about the difficulties of leadership. Lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
“Hopefully I was a good captain, but I’m afraid you’ll have to ask my teammates to answer that.”
He also received the team’s John A. Stewart Winter Warrior Award, given annually to the player who best exemplify the qualities of dedication, effort and achievement that defined Stewart’s career at William & Mary.
“I had always wanted to win that award my whole career,” Armstrong said. “I knew it usually went to an upperclassman so I treated my first few years as resumé-builders. I’ve always loved the weight room though so I don’t feel like I did anything crazy. Winning it senior year was very fulfilling.”
Armstrong earned a scholarship after starting out as a walk-on, something he said was a great experience.
“It was an amazing feeling that I’ll remember forever,” he said. “A very emotional moment for my family and I. Most kids get it in high school when that first offer comes through, I just had to wait a little bit longer than they did. I think that made it a little sweeter.”
As a Hawk, Armstrong was a member of the National Honor Society as well as an OVAC Varsity board representative and earned many football honors.
But football was not the only sport he played in high school. He lettered three years as a midfielder on the lacrosse team.
“Lacrosse was kind of just a way to stay in shape and break up the offseason for me,” Armstrong said. “Also I liked to win and we had some pretty good lacrosse teams back then.”
Armstrong said the speed of the game was the biggest difference between playing football at William & Mary and UHS.
“Everyone is fast, doesn’t matter if they’re big or small,” he said. “That’s where film study came in. Mental preparation was a huge part of my game in college because if I wasn’t going to be stronger or faster than my opponent, I made sure I was smarter.”
Armstrong says he looked up to several players growing up: Peyton Manning, WVU greats like Marc Bulger, Grant Wiley, Pacman Jones, Pat White and Steve Slaton.
“Obviously my dad introduced me to the sport,” he said. “I never really needed an idol though, I just loved playing the game with my buddies.”
Football is part of the Armstrong family. Jack is the son of Kevin Armstrong, who played at WVU from 1978-80.
“Both of my parents helped me through the hard times in my career,” Armstrong said. “Dad was a walk-on like me. He dressed on game days but never really played a whole lot. That’s how it goes as a walk-on sometimes, especially back then. He always wanted to make sure I had more success than he did. To me that’s one of the most selfless acts there is.”
Armstrong said attending William & Mary was a great decision.
“This was my only Division I opportunity and even though I was a walk-on I felt it was the best fit,” he said. “I got to play in the best conference in FCS football and get a great education, so I have no regrets about the decision.”
Armstrong majored in government. He is hoping to begin his coaching career following graduation.
“Ideally [I’d like to] find a graduate assistant or quality control position somewhere,” he said. “Anywhere I can get my foot in the door and stay around football I’ll be happy with.”

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