Scouting Report: Josh Woods

Terrapin Times has seen newest Maryland cornerback commitment Josh Woods in action twice this year at McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md) High School. Woods spent most of his high school career at receiver, but the Terps are recruiting him for the defensive side of the ball.

Terrapin Times has seen newest Maryland cornerback commitment Josh Woods in action twice this year at McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md) High School. Woods spent most of his high school career at receiver, but the Terps are recruiting him for the defensive side of the ball.

Here's our take on Woods' cornerback skills:

Areas he excels: With Woods, it's all about potential and upside. Six-foot-3 cornerbacks don't come around every day – especially not those who can run. Woods (6-3, 180) doesn't have Chris Johnson speed, but he can cover ground quickly with his long strides and deft footwork. He's a long, rangy and athletic defensive back, who at times looks like a safety given his size and ability to track downfield. Woods also has enough pure makeup speed to recover, flashing the ability to close on wideouts deep.

In zone coverage, Woods has a tight backpedal and gets in and out of breaks relatively quickly. He's able to redirect his path and readjust to routes, effectively face-guarding receivers throughout their patterns. Moreover, he shows the ability to turn and run while sticking with WRs downfield.

Woods' best quality, however, is his ball skills. He challenges wideouts in coverage, attacks the ball at its highest point and has the sticky fingers developed as a receiver. Woods possesses active, aggressive hands and knows how to position himself for a breakup or pick. His vertical leap and in-the-air athleticism are also impressive, two qualities that will undoubtedly play well at the next level, either as a corner or safety.

Finally, Woods seems to have the instincts needed to develop into a college corner. Though he's only been a defensive back for a short time, his skills suggest that he's a quick learner with a high football IQ.

Areas that need work: The main concern with Woods, other than experience, is his strength. Right now he's rail thin and standing next to him it looks like a BCS linebacker could snap him in two. He's going to need a year or two to bulk up in order to hang in the Big Ten.

Also, Woods has to loosen up a bit as there is some stiffness there. While his backpedal is solid, he needs to work on his hips in order to adjust to elite wideouts at the next level. We'd also like to see him become even more explosive off his plant foot so he can undercut routes. Right now there's still a bit of hesitancy to his game, almost as if he doesn't fully trust his skills yet.

One area Woods will need to learn in earnest is press-man coverage. He played almost exclusively off-man or zone at McDonogh and rarely had to challenge a receiver at the line. Is he physical enough or strong enough to deal with big, physical wideouts? Are his feet and technique sound enough to hang with quick-twitch, speedy types? And without that 5-yard cushion, can he read and anticipate when playing up in a receiver's face? These are all questions Woods will need to answer during the next year or so to prove he can play at the top levels of college football.

Tackling is another area Woods will need to shore up. Although he's not a poor tackler by any means, it would behoove him to become more consistent. Sometimes he throws his shoulders at running backs/receivers and doesn't always wrap up.

Finally, there's the whole experience factor. When you've only played three games at cornerback, there's plenty to learn, including: Eye discipline, picking up "tells," knowing when to switch off and when to stick with your man, communication with the safeties, etc.

Reminds us of … LaQuan Williams. The former Terps wideout was a lightly recruited defensive back coming out of high school, but his superior speed and athleticism eventually allowed him make a contribution as a receiver later during his career. We're not necessarily saying Woods will end up as a receiver, but he has the same type of raw potential and athleticism Williams displayed at Maryland.

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