California safety likes FSU

As the recruiting season has progressed Florida State has seen their top ranked safety prospect C.J. Holton decommitt to Miami, as well as the news surfacing that Travis Arnold is looking around and may not qualify. Enter 4-star safety E.J. Woods from Encino, CA. NoleDigest caught up with's 9th ranked safety to get his thoughts on the Noles and the how recruiting is going for him.

E.J. Woods spent this past weekend with other top flight prospect in Orlando playing in the ESPN All-American game. For Woods it was a good time and an experience he enjoyed. He says, "I loved it there. I didn't like the weather, though. I didn't like the cold. People were telling me that it usually wasn't like that there. But otherwise I had a very good time there."

Woods, who lists himself as a soft commitment to UCLA, states that the interest in the Seminoles was sparked by a conversation with E.J. Manuel. He explains, "Right now I am a soft verbal to UCLA. I am about to look at FSU extremely hard. I know about the academic situation and all of that, and it doesn't scare me away at all. If they don't go on probation, that will make me like them even more. It will make me like them a whole lot if it doesn't happen. I think FSU plays in the best conference in college football. They have a need for safeties with guys leaving. I would come in as a free safety all the way. I can play strong (safety) too. If the coaches needed me to come and play defensive end wherever I go, I will. I was talking to E.J. Manuel and he was telling me how they needed safeties. I told him I'd be interested and he said he'd call the coaches right there. He did call them and I spoke to a few of them. Early on FSU was recruiting me hard up until I committed to UCLA. He asked me if I was really interested and where I stood with my commitment. I told him I was looking around a bit. He is supposed to call me Monday and we're going to talk more."

Woods says that he has a top 5 in UCLA, FSU, Colorado, Washington and Texas A&M. He says they are not in order, and explains why he may have committed early in the process. "Early on, I really wanted to stay close to home. Now distance won't be a factor for me. I've been talking to my family about getting away and becoming a man on my own. We talk about me becoming independent and learning how to be a better man. I think getting away from home will really help out with that. These schools on my list aren't in order and I think I'll be visitng all of them before I sign," explains Woods.

E.J. explains that at this stage as a player he excels at some things and needs to work on others. The 6'1" 192 pound standout says, "I think my closing speed, tackling ability and blitzing ability makes me stand out right now. I think I need to be more disciplined with my coverage skills because sometimes I try to jump routes to make the play. I think these are young mistakes that I can work on going to the next level."

Earlier this week there was talk that E.J. was making a visit to FSU on the 18th. While that is still a possibility, he explains that he needs to get home and make sure that weekend is available. "When I get home I think we have some kind of banquet that weekend. I am going to get back and see what is happening. I know for sure I will be visiting FSU sometime. That is a school I am checking out for sure," stated Woods.

Although Woods says he remains a commitment to UCLA, he is looking to see what other schools have to offer him and wants to make sure the decision he made was the best for him. There are certain aspects he is looking for and the school that puts them all together will be the final choice when Signing Day rolls around in February. He says, "I am just checking things out and I want to see what these other schools have to offer. I want to check out their goals. By that I mean do they want to play for a National Title or are they happy playing .500 ball. I want to play for a school that wants to compete for titles and that wants to win. I'm looking for a coaching staff with great character and that can get me where I want to be. I know that the school I choose won't be home, but I want to feel like I can do more than just play football. I want to make sure I can enjoy college life. I've heard that Tallahassee is a great place, and that adds to my interest in them too."

While the interest looks to be in the early stages, a strong close by the Seminoles could possibly sway the decision of Woods when it is time to sign. Woods did state there was interest early, and there is a good chance FSU can pick up where they left off. Whether or not the Noles can land Woods is yet to be determined, but from the looks of it the Noles are going to try to make a late push heading into February. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Woods and the rest of the 2008 recruiting class.

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