Hueytown DE Jamal Woods ready for decision after Illini visit

Hueytown (Ala.) defensive end Jamal Woods is considering three schools for Signing Day decision

Making the move from Alabama to Illinois can be a bit of a culture (and weather) shock for some.

So Hueytown (Ala.) defensive end Jamal Woods was happy to have fellow Alabamian Tre Nation serve as his host for a weekend official visit to the University of Illinois.

"That was cool to be around him, so he can tell me what it's really like," Woods said. "He was telling me he thought it was going to be hard for him to go to Illinois, but he said he really liked it down there and that when he comes back down to Alabama that he really wants to go back up to Illinois. He really likes it up there."

Illinois is hoping Woods will join Nation, a rising sophomore running back, in making Champaign his four-year home.

Woods, currently a Memphis commit, will announce his decision on Signing Day among three schools: Illinois, Memphis and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Illinois got the last chance to make an impression before Wednesday's National Signing Day.

"The visit went real good," Woods said. "We toured a lot of things. We ate a lot. I got a chance to meet some of the players."

Woods, who could eventually play defensive tackle as well, could join an Illini defensive line makeover following the losses of five seniors: Dawuane SmootCarroll PhillipsGimel PresidentChunky Clements and Rob Bain.

"They were just talking about how they're losing five d-linemen, and I can have the opportunity to come up there and play as a freshman," Woods said. "I watched some film (with defensive line coach Mike Phair) of his guys and how he coached them up. It was real cool."

Woods also met one-on-one with Illini head coach Lovie Smith.

"His emotions, they're the same as always," Woods said. "He's a laid-back guy."

Woods said he will discuss his decision with his high school coach before announcing on Wednesday. 

He gave his thoughts on each school in the running.

Memphis: "They have a good coaching staff. They did good this year in football, and they're really close to home."

Louisiana-Lafayette: "Nice coaching staff. Nice facilities. Cool place."

Illinois: "Nice coaching staff. Cool players, and you get access to NFL coaches who can produce NFL players, for real. They started from ground up"

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