Each and every football team has an on-field commander. For the Ursinus College Bears, that commander is junior quarterback Tom Garlick. The highly-recruited athlete from Quakertown High School started making an impact the second he stepped on Ursinus’ campus, and that impact has only grown.
During Garlick’s freshman campaign, he opened the eyes of many teams in the Centennial Conference. Although he came in looking like a skinny freshman, he threw the ball like a solidified senior. During his rookie season, Garlick threw an impressive 1,522 passing yards and recorded 8 touchdowns. Along with that, he tallied 285 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Unfortunately, the 2016 season did not turn out the way Garlick had hoped, as Ursinus finished with a record of 2-8.
“I did some things right, but did some things wrong, too. It’s a learning experience and I took that offseason seriously by watching the rights and wrongs of my game and improving myself. My coaches helped me a lot with that,” Garlick said.
Entering his sophomore season, Garlick and the Bears were looking to make improvements from the previous year. They did just that. In fact, Garlick led the Bears to a 5-0 hot start out of the gate to open up the season. During this run, Garlick helped take down Centennial Conference powerhouse Johns Hopkins, who had appeared to be unbeatable over the past two decades. Garlick put up very impressive numbers in the game, including the game-winning touchdown rush to solidify the Bears’ triumphant win.
Although the Bears experienced losses after their win over Hopkins, Garlick’s success continued. He finished the season with 1,905 passing yards and nine touchdowns, averaging roughly 211 yards per game. He also ran for 469 yards and tacked on five touchdowns as well. Garlick was a consistent threat throughout the year, and the numbers show it.
This fall, Garlick and the Bears wanted to take the previous season’s success and make it something special. According to Garlick, they “had a Centennial Conference championship on [their minds].”
In the first scrimmage of the year, Garlick went down with a knee injury that left his season in question. But, through intense rehab with Ursinus athletic trainer Akinori Kashawagi, Garlick was able to play in time for week one.
The season started off well for Garlick and the Bears as the offense dominated opposing defenses. After a tough three-game stretch, the team rallied around their third-year starting quarterback and bounced back, winning their last four games of the season. Then Garlick and the Bears did something that hasn’t been done in a long time: the team participated in and won a bowl game. Garlick led his teammates into battle against Misericordia University in the fourth annual Centennial/MAC Bowl Game.
The Bears dominated the game with a final score of 70-14. Garlick was awarded MVP of the game with 365 passing yards on 17 completions, three of them being touchdowns. Garlick said, “It was definitely an honor getting the MVP, but overall the whole team really was performing at a high level, and the coaches put us in situations to make plays and put points on the board.”
Throughout his first three years, Garlick has been lighting up the stat sheet and has broken some school records this year, including the Ursinus record for most yards in a season (2,772), Centennial record for yards in a half (341), all-time Ursinus leader in passing yards (5,716), and all-time Ursinus leader in completions (487).
Year in and year out, Garlick has raised the eyebrows of many around the CC and hopes to do the same thing next year as he prepares for his senior season next fall. In the fall of 2019, Garlick hopes to break the touchdown record, but says, “I don’t care about any records, I just want my team to win.”