Woods Enjoying The Ride

D.J. Woods may only be removed from high school by a few months. But in that short time Woods has learned a lot and continues to learn as he enjoys the ride of being a college football player. We spoke with Woods about his experiences so far as a Bearcat.

At this time last year D.J. Woods thought he had things under control. An early verbal commitment to Nebraska, Woods had turned down Ohio State and several other programs for the Big 12 program.

But things soon changed as Woods would see a coaching change and while not being sure what the future might hold opened up the recruiting process that saw a second commitment to West Virginia until they also had a coaching change.

When all the dust had settled the Strongsville, Ohio product found a home in Cincinnati and has started to see his name called more often early in his career. How does it feel to get on the field at the college level?

"It's a great feeling getting on the field with everybody else and helping the team in any way you can."

While Woods is enjoying the chance to earn early playing time, he also learned things are different in college.

"It's a lot faster, bigger and stronger than high school. Everything is 10X more than high school. Everybody was the man in high school but once you get here everybody is on scholarship and as fast as you think you are or as quick or strong as you think you are. It all changes once you get here and see who you're going against everyday. So you've got cope with that but still go out and show your talents and work towards passing the others to earn your playing time."

While D.J. has shown glimpses of what made him such a big-time recruit. Getting that first college career catch did a lot for him.

"It's crazy getting on the field but once I got my first catch I loss the butterflies out of my system and started gaining confidence with each catch. I just hope the coaches keep gaining confidence in me and my abilities so I can continue to earn playing time."

But while Woods has seen a few highlights he's reminded everyday just where his talent level is at this early stage of his career.

"I'm not going to lie. I get my butt kicked in almost every practice. In high school you're going against freshmen or sophomores on the scout team. But now I'm going against future NFL draft choices at corner and safety. So I take my beating knowing it's making me a better player."

So far working hard on the field has seen Woods make great strides. Where does he feel his game has improved the most?

"My intelligence on the field has improved the most. In high school you only got a couple of plays to learn and don't have to read coverage's. But here you've got to read coverage's and know everything you've got to do on the field. It's just like another day at school. I'm here taking my classes in school and on the field."

And where is there work to be done?

"Blocking, everyone has trouble's blocking when they reach the college level. In high school you don't do that much blocking and don't have to hold them too long. But here you've got to work hard on blocking so you can keep your block. For me I'm learning Cincinnati's way of blocking which is different than what it was at Strongsville."

Not only is D.J. making adjustments on the field but also off the field. How has the early part of college seen him adjust?

"You wake up every morning to a busy day with class, study table, practice, training table and even more study table. So your day is pretty well laid out and you just have to manage your time and work hard."

After going through the recruiting process D.J. knows not everyone reaches the level he's at today. Did he really think he'd be a major college football player?

"No not at all. I think it's every kids dream when they start playing football to be able to play at this level. Last year I was ridding buses to schools around Strongsville, Ohio. Today, you get ready for a road game and go get on a plane for places like Oklahoma. To go from school buses to planes and from the local high school fields to places in the Big 12 and Big East is awesome. All of this gives me more experience and will help me down the road as I continue my career."

Bearcats wide receiver coach Charlie Molnar not only coaches D.J. now that he's a Bearcat. He also was the main coach recruiting him out of high school. Where does Coach Molnar feel D.J. has done the best so far?

"D.J. got off to a slow start because of his medical problem in camp. But he's right on target in his overall development. His strengths are he's a very fluid route runner and has a great burst of speed and his use of his hands. His main weakness is his blocking which most guys coming in is a concern. The other area is him getting use to the day in and day out intensity that is required at this level to succeed.


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