Woods family gets visit from Nebraska

The questions continue, but as Nebraska tries to keep its current recruiting class intact, the coaches, jobs or no, hit the road recruiting during the contact period. And one of the many stops wasn't to try and keep one, but to get one back.

It was late-October when Strongsville, Ohio wide receiver D.J. Woods started looking around, stemming from all the rumors about coaches potentially not having jobs at the end of the year.


It's been since July when Woods committed to the big red. The time between now and then has been tumultuous to say the least, trying at best and the future Woods looked at as a Husker, basically went up in smoke.


That was when Bill Callahan officially became the former Head Coach, cementing all the rumors and almost solidifying the decision D.J. and his parents made, just in case something like this was going to happen. That was to decommit, not necessarily looking to shut the door on the Huskers, but making sure all the other schools courting him knew that he was serious about looking at them, should the worst happen in Lincoln.


The worst has happened, but the coaches who D.J. committed to and those his parents say they trust, are still around. And even though the coaches have no idea as to what their fate will be once a new head coach is put into place, they are on the road recruiting, trying to convince commits that Nebraska is still a great place and for the Woods family, that it's a place they should think about committing to, again.


"It was so good seeing him. I didn't realize how much we missed him," D.J. Woods' father (Derek) said of wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, who has been one of D.J.'s primary recruiters since early on in the year. "It was a little awkward, though, because we didn't know Auburn was coming today, too."


It was perhaps a little bit of a slip-up in scheduling, but Woods said that Auburn had left the house before Gilmore arrived. So, they went to meet him. "We met him at a restaurant, and it was kind of nice, because D.J. was doing a workout, so it was just Kelly and I who got a chance to sit down and talk," he said of he and his wife. "It was good, because he wanted to know how we were doing, but considering what is going on in Lincoln, we wanted to know how he was doing, too."


The conversation didn't take long to get to the sticking point, the one where answers are few, questions are mounting and everyone just wants a resolution. Of course, Gilmore wasn't able to give them any of the answers they really wanted. "But according to Woods, Gilmore was upbeat about the future. "He said he had a good feel," Woods said of Gilmore's comments on the situation at Nebraska. "He said he wanted to stay on, but just like he said Dr. Tom (Osborne) hadn't promised him anything, he couldn't promise us anything either. But He (Gilmore) thought that it seemed like Osborne was happy with what he'd done up to this point and was just hopeful for the future.


"But he seemed pretty confident. I know that he and his wife really want to stay."


The future is the question, everyone wanting to know just when the future becomes now. While D.J. remains uncommitted to anyone, the entire family has never stopped looking to see what's going on with the big red. And as Woods recalled of the conversation with the receivers' coach, Gilmore actually had a question for him.


"He just wanted to know what it was going to take to get that comfort level back with them again," Woods said. "We just said that we weren't sure, but we knew what wasn't acceptable and that's him not being there anymore."


The bottom line with Woods as it is with most any parent of a recruit or the recruit themself, is the relationship they develop with one coach and in perfect situations, with as many from that particular school as possible. It's one that the elder Woods said was the big positive for Nebraska, getting to know both Gilmore and D.J.'s first recruiter, tight ends coach Joe Rudolph.


Woods said that for the same reason Nebraska is an unknown commodity right now, there are other teams that are good teams, but not high on the family list at this point. "Our coach knows the Missouri coach and I know that the Tigers have this really dynamic offense. But I don't know those guys from Adam," he said. "I know it's a good program, but it'd be hard for us as parents to let D.J. go somewhere, where we didn't know the coaches very well.


"With Nebraska, should they replace some of these guys, trying to get to know new coaches over a period of 30 or so days, that's not something we have a real high comfort level in doing.


"That's why we are only really talking to those we have gotten to know."


That list consists of Penn State, West Virginia, Auburn and, of course, Nebraska. Woods said that D.J. has officially visited Auburn and the Iowa Hawkeyes as well. The feelings from those visits have been good, and D.J.'s father said of the first four at least, that of that group, he's very pleased. "Of those schools, we are OK with whichever D.J. might choose. We have a nice familiarity with them all," Woods said. "They are all recruiting D.J. as a wide receiver, and each of those schools we know would be a great place for him to be."


With the impending hiring of the next head coach at Nebraska to take place perhaps as soon as early next week, the elder Woods said his eyes and ears are pointed that way to see what happens when the dust settles to the ground. The time as an official decommit from Nebraska has given the family a real chance to explore all the other options, but before anything is done they will know what's going on in Lincoln. "Everyone knows that we won't make any sort of decision until something is official at Nebraska. I mean, right now anyway, every reason why we committed there is still there," he said. "The academic support system we loved so much is still there. That crazy Husker Nation is still there. And we know Dr. Tom will make sure that whoever they get, they will fit right in and that coach will have the backing of the entire state."


As any parent is wont to do, they try to put themselves in the position of their child, thinking about how they will manage life at a particular college and look at each potential coach as a parent for when the parents aren't around. Mr. Woods said of that process, they try to get the best feel they can. But when it's all said and done, the older Woods said of the younger, that only he'll know where he should really be.


"It's his choice. We are his parents and we are here to help, but it has to be his choice in the end," he said. "I know that he has developed nice relationships with many of these coaches and he feels good about those schools we know the best. But he's the one who will know inside which is the best fit.


"After this deal with Nebraska is done, and we have a conclusion to what's going on there, we'll take more visits if we have to and then sit down and figure out things from there. We're tired of this entire process. But it won't force us to make a decision that won't be the absolute best for D.J. and his future."

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