Wood turned grades around to get to Athens

ATHENS – Brandon Wood needed to buckle down and get his grades in order or he was headed to prep school.

"I really started studying and buckling down," Wood said of getting his grades in order. "I started hitting the books a lot more."

The Bulldogs' first commitment of 2006 had to commit to hitting the books, and he did just that – yanking his grade point average high enough to qualify to get into Georgia. He did that while helping his high school, Haralson County, go to the state playoffs for the first time in 38 years.

"We really wanted to do that," Wood said. "It was something we had been working towards for four years."

Wood committed to the Bulldogs at an Auburn-Georgia basketball game in 2005, more than a calendar year before he would sign with the Dawgs.

"He's a national blue-chip player, but he knew that he wanted to go to Georgia. He was excited about committing early, and he didn't care if he took another trip or not," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt.

Now enrolled and practicing with the team, Wood has been watching and learning from some of the best defensive ends in the country.

"I watch them all of the time," said Wood of starters Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses. "Charles helps me with my hands – he stay after practice to do so."

Wood has a very similar build to Johnson's. Both, too, had tremendous high school accolades.

Wood had 48 tackles and four sacks on defense, and had 800 rushing yards with eight touchdowns during his senior year at Haralson County. The year before, Wood rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding 100 tackles and 14 sacks on defense.

A smiley, contagious personality, Wood is all business between the white lines.

"He's just one of those guys that you love because they are so talented," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt.


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