Piedmont’s Propst secures football future at West Georgia

Piedmont senior receiver Thomas Propst signed a football scholarship with West Georgia on Wednesday. Pictured with Propst are his parents Rush and Stefnie Propst. Photo courtesy of Al Muskewitz, East Alabama Sports Today.

By Al Muskewitz, East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – One of Thomas Propst’s fondest memories growing up in a football coach’s family was the annual rite of winter known as National Signing Day.

Every year, he couldn’t wait to watch the elite players – 255 of them total – parade to the front of the room in all those brightly colored ball caps and sign with all those different programs across the country.

And with every stroke of the pen back then he couldn’t wait to be one of those guys.

“It was cool seeing everybody else sign, put in the work and have the outcome of it, seeing where football has taken them and getting the chance to go play at the next level,” the Piedmont receiver said. “I said to myself I wanted to do that when I got older. That was probably eighth, ninth grade and I worked my butt off to make that happen.”

Propst’s day finally arrived Wednesday when the Piedmont receiver signed his own scholarship with the University of West Georgia. He said it felt even “more special” than the way he felt watching the players he looked up to so many years ago.

That would make him the 256th player his father, legendary high school coach Rush Propst, has had a direct hand in sending to the next level.

For all the players Papa Propst has sent to the next level, because it was his son, this one was the most gratifying.

“He’s grown up going to signing days,” said Rush, reminiscing about Signing Days past. “He’s been around a lot of those kids down to the wire. He’s heard all those phone calls of a Monday night kid committing to Kentucky and then he flips to LSU 36 hours later. I’ve seen some crazy things over the years.”

It may be a straight shot from Piedmont to Carrollton, Ga., but Thomas Propst’s road to West Georgia has been a winding one, fraught with injuries that almost kept his college dream from happening.

Propst transferred into the Piedmont program two years ago and developed into a smart, reliable inside receiver. He started out as a special teamer and holder, but was never quite 100 percent after breaking his right foot as a sophomore in Georgia.

But he turned it on the following summer and despite two major injuries during the season wound up 46 passes for 672 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. Bulldogs head coach Steve Smith called him one of the most improved players on the team between 2021 and 2022. Growing four inches to 6-2 during that time didn’t hurt, either.

He broke his left foot during the summer, but got back in time to play in the season opener and catch a touchdown pass in the second game. He was progressing nicely, then in the Tuesday practice before the second round of the playoffs he broke his wrist running into the goalpost and thought his playing career was over. But the Bulldogs progressed through and Propst returned to play in the semifinals and Class 3A championship game.

“He did a great job,” Smith said. “Being a coach’s son he’s really smart, just being able to pick up on stuff. He’s got good football sense. His awareness is probably his best attribute. He just recognizes things; it doesn’t take him long to pick it up. He and (quarterback) Jack (Hayes) had a good rapport.

“His best football is definitely in front of him. His career is on the upswing right now.”

Propst’s opportunity at West Georgia happened quickly. He didn’t get many looks during the season, but after posting his highlights on social media interest started to grow. The Wolves were one of nine small- to mid-level programs in the Midwest and South that came across with offers.

It ultimately came down between West Georgia and Mars Hill, with the final decision being made Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t think there could be a better spot for me,” he said.

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