RECRUITING: Cougs moving up Wood's list

WASHINGTON STATE made a strong impression this weekend on junior college defensive back <b>Marlon Wood</b>, in town on an official visit. The lightning fast Wood talked to CF.C about the trip and where the Cougs now stand on his list of leaders.

Coming into the visit with Washington State, the Cougs were in a four-way tie behind Marlon Wood's leader, North Carolina. The trip definitely moved WSU up, but not quite enough to overtake the Tar Heels.

"It was pretty good, it was a small little town -- I wasn't used to that," said Wood, who grew up in Tampa and recently finished his JC career in Pasadena. "The coaches were nice, the players were cool. It was like a family type of organization over there."

Besides not being used to a college town setting just yet, the Tar Heels might hold the edge at this point since Wood's best friend is on the UNC football team and his father holds a friendship with the Carolina head coach. North Carolina has not offered Wood to this point.

Still, Wood remains open and the Cougs have made up ground in his mind following the weekend in Pullman. The academics portion of the visit was among those he found noteworthy.

"We got to see the campus and the facilities. The academic program -- that was the difference. They had everything all talked about (at North Carolina) and so did Washington State, but the (WSU) counselor individually sat down and talked to me about grades, academics and how I'd map out as far as my major."

A 5'10, 182-pound lightning bolt who runs a 4.3 forty, Wood slowed down enough to spend some quality time with the WSU coaching staff this weekend. Coach Bill Doba and coach Ken Greene each made sure to let Wood know they'd like to see him don the Crimson and Gray this coming fall.

"Coach Doba, he wants me to come there. And the defensive backs coach, coach Greene, I'm their guy, that's what they say... Oh, they're up there. They're Number 2, now."

Wood travels to Central Florida this weekend on an official visit and then will begin to take stock, saying he'll probably take the next two weeks before starting to narrow down his list sometime after Christmas.

"I'm open, I've just got to think it over and talk to my parents."

Wood's father is Richard "Batman" Wood, former All-American linebacker and NFL standout.

WOOD STARTED OUT the year at wide receiver for the Lancers because of his speed and a good set of hands but was eventually moved to the corner to help shore up the Pasadena secondary.

In the seven games he played at defensive back, Wood had 30 tackles, three INTs and 11 pass break-ups.

He was also a game breaker on special teams. On kickoff and punt returns, Wood averaged 40 and 12 yards, respectively. He also broke Jackie Robinson's school record with a return of 107 yards on a missed field goal attempt.

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