In the history of athletics, there have been many greats who have jumped like gazelles, ran like cheetahs and preyed enemies like wolves.
The thing that separates the pack, however, is a word that doesn't get thrown around in the sports world very frequently – humility. Some have it naturally, some can't even buy it. Rashaun Woods, well, the man is quite content being a happy medium.
He knows his capabilities, he knows his strengths. He knows he has a bright future in the NFL. But it doesn't seem to faze him.
Humility and teamwork are the keys to Woods' soul.
After an 11-yard reception in the first half against
Shattering Hart Lee Dykes' OSU
career-receiving yards feat was a prize Woods had his eye on since he
first stepped foot in
And, if you look at your calendars closely: It is only week two of the young season. As long as the senior stays healthy, he will catapult himself into the drivers' seat for many years to come.
"I told Terry Noonan (athletic trainer) one day my freshman year that I was going to break that record. That was something I had set for myself as a goal," Woods said. "He just kind of looked at me like, ‘Okay, sure.' I said that's what I wanted to do. People looked at me and laughed."
It may have seemed like a tall order then, but since, Noonan and the coaching staff – along with the rest of the nation – have come to cheer on Woods' in his pursuit of that goal.
"Records were meant to be broken, and somebody is going to come along and break mine next," the All-American said simply and confidently, no boasting or crooked smiles necessary to get his point across.
With magic hands only few on Earth are blessed with, Woods found himself entering those record books with yet another outstanding performance. In his mind, he may have always wanted to take over the No. 1 spot from Dykes, but he didn't want it so much that it caused him to lose sight of what was best for his team.
"I didn't come back (for senior season) because I wanted to break records," he said. "I came back because I wanted to help my team win a Big 12 Championship."
And, if it comes out of the mouth of Woods, it must be possible. Remember, this is the same scrawny, awkward freshman that sat upon Noonan's training table one day four years ago and said he was going to etch his name in the scrolls along with the best OSU has hosted. Nothing is too hard; nothing is too far to reach for Woods. He sets his goals higher than mountaintops, but he doesn't let that winning mentality cloud what he believes is his ultimate job.
"I expect a lot of myself; I expect to help guide the team to where we need to be in order to win a championship."
He is proud of the fact that he lived up to the legend of Dykes. Woods has made no bones about the respect he has for the former Cowboy. He smiled a little Saturday, but he didn't celebrate. Individualism isn't a word Mama Woods taught her sons.
His job is one he will never call in sick for. It is a serious matter, so serious in fact, he knows that as the offensive leader he has to sometimes step backward instead of forward.
There are days when he is ambushed by double coverage and he still makes all the right catches at all the right times. But, there are also days Woods knows the double-teaming opens up doors for his counterparts.
"Hey, if they want to double team me, then let them do it. They obviously don't know that there are plenty of other receivers on our team that can hurt them just as bad," Woods said prior to a game last season.
The Heisman hopeful has no qualms with aiding the competition in finding out that Rashaun Woods isn't the only guy in orange who can catch a football.
Double coverage and all, opponents can't stop Woods. He either makes receptions anyway, or he becomes bait for defenders, opening up the seas for Gabe Lindsay, his brother D'Juan, and the rest of the receivers.
Truth is, Woods is one of those players that comes along once in a blue moon, his athleticism is nearly unmatched by each and every member of the opposition. If he wanted to, he could probably still make the plays in triple coverage.
But, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A great person is always willing to be little."
Records come and go, and this surely won't be the last one of sorts that Woods' crushes en route to the NFL. Woods is still a big brother figure to his team, and he knows that sometimes the ball should be in his hands, but other times, he needs to let his fellow Cowboys learn to fly.
He is willing to be little, and that, according to our good friend Ralph, is what makes Rashaun Woods great.
"Yes, records are meant to be broken, but there is more work to be done," he said. "I don't sit around counting my yards."
Woods is a man that knows his place, and he goes above and beyond his duty – without appearing as though he is.
That is his bag. He is the player who is so great, that he almost doesn't realize how much. Humility does that to a man. Of course it is possible – even the gods of strength don't remember how much power they possess if they give of themselves day in and day out to those they lead.
"I am only one player, it takes more than me to win a game," Woods said. "We can win a Big 12 Championship; it is definitely within our reach."
The 2002 Houston Bowl was OSU's first post-season appearance since 1997, so some people may decide to take Woods' statements with a grain of salt. But then again, buying stock in the words of Rashaun Woods probably isn't a shabby idea.
Just ask Terry Noonan.
Brandi Ball can be reached
via e-mail at