As Tennessee proved this fall, there are never enough defensive linemen.
The Volunteers saw a trio of contributors in the two deep go down with injuries before even getting midway through October.
For that reason, stockpiling help up front is key and Tennessee is a program that firmly believes in playing 8-11 defensive linemen a game.
Jordan Woods could one day become a part of that group. The staff in Knoxville hosted him on an official visit last month.
Sometimes visits don’t go as planned and recruits change their mind about programs. Does Tennessee still have Woods’ attention?
“Oh yes, definitely,” he said.
It’s the Big Orange’s third-year head coach that has Tennessee in the thick of things with lineman with 4.85 speed. Butch Jones’ message comes out with Woods’ sentiments about the program.
“Definitely with coach Butch Jones, we talked right before I left and before I sat down with the coaches,” Woods said. “What really separates (Tennessee) is the people. It’s just a vibe, I can’t explain it. The people, the fan base, the atmosphere, the classes…it’s just a lot of things. You truly can’t explain and go into detail. It’s just Rocky Top is Rocky Top. You have to experience it for yourself to get to know the school.”
Not only was Woods part of a sellout crowd of 102,455, he saw the Volunteers erase a 21-point deficit to come back and beat then-No. 19 Georgia 38-31.
“Yeah it did (surprise him),” Woods said. “You go to a game down in Florida and it’s 95,000 and only 88,000 seats but when you get up to a stadium that has 102,000 seats for a night game and it’s sold out, that’s awesome. That power behind you…I’m not sure there are too many people that can beat you like that.”
The Scout three-star prospect from North Marion (Fla.) High School plays alongside other Vols targets in junior offensive lineman Blake Vinson and senior wide receiver Freddie Swain (Florida commit). Woods is a key member of Huskies defense that pitched three straight shutouts before a 38-14 loss at Hoover (Ala.) High School last week.
Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling calls the Scout No. 11-rated defensive end in the Sunshine State a “question-mark guy” because Woods can play anything from the 1-technique down to the 9-technique. Stripling is Woods’ lead recruiter from Tennessee.
“Coach Strip, he’s a funny guy,” Woods said. “He’s generally just business, but he’s a cool guy. He’s gonna have a laugh with you, he’s going to joke around, he treats all the D-linemen the same.”
Tennessee freshman defensive end Kyle Phillips and freshman linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. hosted Woods, who will compete with other Tennessee targets Dee Anderson, Tim Hart and Malcolm Roach in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Daytona Beach on Jan. 2.
Other official visit plans are in the works. The defender said three schools most likely to host him are Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and West Virginia. The fifth visit could go to Florida, North Carolina State or another program.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder told IT he “may” take an unofficial visit to Tennessee before he signs a National Letter of Intent.
Look for a declaration “probably in January.”
“It might be before my last official but definitely after my (other) officials,” Woods said. “I might wait until Signing Day to do it. Right after my officials, I’m going to let everybody know.”
The Citra, Florida, native owns a 3.4 grade point average and qualified with an ACT score of 24. He is not enrolling in college in January.