Winona Christian’s Thomas Costilow has all of the tools that college football coaches look for.
At 6-foot-5, he’s tall and long. He’s also big and strong as Costilow weighs 225 pounds while benching 345 pounds and squatting 460. He’s also fast as he runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. He’s also physical as veteran coach Junior Graham calls him a “violent tackler with no back up in him.”
Costilow is also the latest addition to The Winona Times/Carroll Conservative Eleven Players to Watch for the upcoming football season, featuring players from Carroll Academy, J.Z. George, Winona High School, and Winona Christian School. An’darious Coffey of Winona was revealed as the first member of the Eleven To Watch last week.
When asked about Costilow, Graham was gushing with praise.
“He is eat up with talent,” the WCS head coach said. “We will have to play him out of position. We are going to play him at running back and defensive end. He’s really an H-back or tight end at the next level. He has really good speed and above average hands. He is tall and long and really strong. He benched 225 19 times at South Alabama this past week. And he is a kid that is very coachable. He is the guy that if he ends up playing college ball, he will add 30 pounds and you will never know it.”
Costilow mainly played defense last year, racking up more than 70 tackles from his defensive end position.
“He’s a heck of a defensive player,” Graham said. “If you can run and aren’t scared, you can be a good defensive player and he can do both and he’s long. He plays our open-side defensive end. He’s a violent tackler on defense and there is no back down in him whatsoever. He had a huge game against Carroll last year and was basically unblockable.”
Costilow only got about 15 carries last year but when Costilow got a chance to show what he had, it was electric.
“On the offensive side of the ball, he will have to run the ball for us,” Graham said. “He just hasn’t had a lot of reps because we had some good backs. The first time he touched it last year, he went 73 yards for a touchdown against Oak Hill. We are hoping that he can turn into the running back that we think he could be. He’s a guy that could shorten the game for us and hopefully carry a big load for us.”
So far, Costilow only has one offer and that’s from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
“He is going to be a recruitable kid,” Graham said. “Every coach I have talked to understands that we have to play him where we need him. When they see his arms hanging down to his knees, they love his frame. I think if he has a really special season for us he will get a lot of interest. He’s got the frame and that’s something you can’t coach. You might can get a kid a little bit faster but you can’t teach that length. I’ve coached a lot of kids but haven’t coached that many kids with that kind of size and that kind of speed.”
When not playing football or lifting weights at school, Costilow said he goes to his uncle’s gym in Carrollton and continues to work out there, lifting six days a week. And if he’s not lifting weights, Costilow said he is working on his father’s cattle farm.
Costilow said he knows that he is going to have to step up and take on more responsibility this season.
“I’m going to have to take a lot more of a leadership role on the team this season,” Costilow said. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team so I know I’m going to have to step up and be a team leader.”
Costilow said he prefers the defensive side of the football because he likes “being aggressive and hitting people.
Costilow said he makes As and Bs in the classroom and has made a 17 on the ACT. He said he might want to major in business or possibly engineering. He said his mother is a retired school teacher and “helps me stay on top of my grades. She’s going to make sure I take care of my business there.”