2018 Charlotte (NC) three-star running back Justus Woods likes Stanford a lot.
But no one would knock him if he winced when he thought about the Cardinal.
See, the last time he was on the Stanford campus was last summer for a camp. Woods tweaked his hamstring prior to the trip while running track. That hamstring tweak turned into a hamstring tear during drills.
“I ran a couple of drills and it totally just gave out on me in one of the drills,” Woods said. “It was not the best sight, and it affected my season a lot this year. It was kind of rough.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound running back wasn’t fully healed until about October.
“I would say I didn't feel like myself this entire season," Woods said. “I had to wear a hamstring brace for most of the games except for the last few games.”
Woods “not feeling like himself” resulted in a junior year with 1,200 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns. Good luck to the North Carolina defenders who face off against Woods when he is full strength.
Despite the injury, the solid year resulted in an offer from Stanford, probably softening the flashbacks for Wood when he thinks of The Farm.
"Just for them to think of me and still like me even though I was unable to perform to 100% speaks a lot to how they believe in me so I'm very grateful for that."
Now, Woods has a stretching routine he goes through before every game and better prepares for each time he steps on the field. He isn’t running track this offseason but will be doing speed training and mixed martial arts for conditioning.
Woods describes himself a versatile back who implements power and speed. He has an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
“Having a low center of gravity, especially since I’m taller, give me more power to run,” Woods said.
Woods loves the style Stanford runs their offense. Seeing different types of backs, from Toby Gerhart to Tyler Gaffney to Christian McCaffrey, succeed over the years makes the Cardinal appealing.
Making them even more appealing is the group that sets blocks for the running backs.
“The Stanford offense is great,” Woods said. “They run a pro-style offense, which I love. Looking at the 2017 class with those huge offensive linemen that they have, it's a running back's dream to run behind. I love that that ground-and-pound the type of mindset. Just running behind those big dudes always gets a running back excited,”
Woods holds offers from Duke, Eastern Carolina, Northwestern, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wisconsin. Clearly from this list, academics are important to him.
“Academics plays a huge role. My family and I talked about this before the recruiting process started that I would go to a school that doesn't put football before academics,” Woods said. “I'm going to school number one for academics and then football. It means a lot to me especially since knowing Stanford and the type of school that they are knowing that they think I not only have the athletic ability but the academic ability is great.”
It’s going to be a busy spring for Woods with visits to Virginia Tech, Duke, Northwestern and Stanford on the schedule right now. While he juggles his recruitment, Woods is focusing on coming into his a senior year healthy and putting up big numbers.
“It's going to be a big turnaround,” Woods said. “I'm expecting a big season this year because of last year I wasn't able to do much with the injury. Just knowing I can push myself even farther, I can push myself even harder and knowing that I am working towards a goal that I want to set for myself.”