Josh Woods (6'2, 210)
No. 12 OLB, No. 162 Overall
Introduction: Under Jim Mora, UCLA's linebackers have had a very successful run, with Anthony Barr, Jordan Zumwalt, and, soon, Eric Kendricks all being drafted. Myles Jack, the sophomore phenom, has almost redefined the linebacker position with his ability to cover receivers and play against the run. But with Kendricks leaving, Zach Whitley transferring, and a few guys not panning out perfectly, there' s a big need for impact players. Josh Woods, the Upland linebacker, may have one of the highest upsides in the country since he just turned 17 and is still physically immature. AS he grows, he could fill holes at either inside or outside linebacker for the Bruins.
Recruitment: Woods was probably under-recruited relative to his talent, mostly because he had to sit out his junior year due to transfer rules. Over the summer, it was thought that UCLA wanted to wait until they saw senior film of Woods before offering, but after hearing enough reports of his athleticism and talent in 7-on-7 settings, the Bruins offered, and soon thereafter Woods committed. With a week to go until Signing Day, there's some rumbling that Oregon may still be in the picture, since they just got a commitment from his teammate, Gary Baker. We'd have to imagine he sticks with UCLA, though, based off what we've heard and what he's said.
Being so young for his grade, Woods has a great deal of upside, which is what we're looking for in prospects. He's not yet filled out physically, but already has a good frame, and again, his athleticism is what sets him apart. He showed excellent coverage skills to go along with natural instincts in the run game. He's not a finished product, and we'd imagine he'll redshirt in year one, but the talent is there to be a three-year starter. He played running back (quite well) in high school, so it's also an option for him to be another two-way player, at least in fits and bursts. At UCLA, we'd guess he redshirts his freshman year, and then fills in at outside linebacker as the heir to Jack when he makes his inevitable leap to the NFL.
Official Visit Preview: Josh Woods
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