Wood makes the call

It doesn't happen often that Navy wins a recruiting battle against schools from the SEC and Big Ten, but it did Tuesday evening when Andrew Wood of Friendship Christian School in Lebanon, Tenn., called Ken Niumatalolo to inform him he was committing to the U.S. Naval Academy. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound offensive lineman chose Navy over his other two finalists, Mississippi State and Purdue.

"I just really like Navy," Wood told GoMids.com. "They're making great strides as a program. They've been there recruiting me since before my junior year of high school. I have a large amount of respect for all of the coaches on that staff. Ultimately, my decision wasn't about the time I would spend in college but my future afterwards. I believe I'm setting myself up for life.

"The weekend of the Notre Dame game, I took my official visit to Navy. It was the only official visit I took. What stood out to me then was just getting a chance to speak with the players. Navy has a few players from my area like Parker Wade who talked to me about life at the Academy. I loved the atmosphere on campus, the tone around the locker room, and thought I'd fit in well.

"I actually made my decision last night and make phone calls to the other coaches who were recruiting me to let them know I was ending my recruiting process and going with Navy. Then today, I called Coach Ken Niumatalolo who was pretty excited about it. Actually, he had me talk with the offensive coordinator and some of the other coaches. After talking to those guys I called Coach Ingram to let him know I committed. It was Coach Ingram who, two summers ago, offered me. He loved my athleticism, especially for someone my size, and thought I'd be a good fit in the system.

"It's very exciting to finally know where I'll be going to college. It's a real load off my chest not having the stress of recruiting to worry about. I talked long and hard with my family about the military commitment. They were asking me if I was okay with the five-year requirement. I am. I think that service to our country is important. I'm all Navy and ready to wear the Blue and Gold."

Wood became a starter in his freshman season at Friendship Christian School in the Nashville area. As a junior he was named First Team All-State and Lineman of the Year in his Region. In his senior year, he moved from tackle to guard on the Commanders offensive line and helped his team to a 10-2 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the Division II-A playoffs. Recently, he was selected as a finalist for Mr. Football in the state of Tennessee. Although not yet confirmed, Wood said he's on track to be a direct admit to the Academy next summer.

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