Early Impressions

D.J. Woods made an immediate impression at one of West Virginia's summer football camps, and his performance created the base the wound up supporting a verbal commitment to the Mountaineers.

At the camp, Woods displayed just about every attribute that a wide receiver needs. He adjusted to passes in the air, caught everything within range, and ran down long passes from a variety of quarterbacks. He was most impressive in an alternating ladder drill, where he ran horizontally across the field to catch passes from quarterbacks lined up on both sides of the path the receivers took. Woods zeroed in and found the ball early on each pass, and caught every ball with soft hands before tucking it away quickly. Most observers felt he was the best player at the camp.

Although Woods later committed to Nebraska, the day at the camp stayed with him, as well as with the Mountaineer coaches. When he decommitted from the Huskers due to their coaching situation, the relationship he developed with the West Virginia coaches on that visit made WVU one of his top choices.

"It was a chance for the coaches to get to know me," Woods explained. "I had an offer from them, but they hadn't seen me face-to-face. They had just seen me on film, from either games or combines. I wanted to go to camp and actually work in front of them. I just did my thing overall, and I really felt comfortable there."

After making a commitment to Nebraska, Woods thought that the recruiting process was over. However, after the Nebraska coaching situation deteriorated, he felt compelled to reopen the process.

"I didn't expect all the twist and turns," Woods said. "I am just happy it is done now. It was really kind of crazy. I was looking forward to it, but now that it's over I just feel relieved."

Woods was again diligent during the second phase of his recruiting process, and made several visits. On his West Virginia trip, he got to renew his relationship with quarterback Patrick White, who was his host. The pairing of a quarterback and wide receiver was a natural one, and he forged a bond that helped him pick the Mountaineers.

"I got to spend a lot of time with him, and when I cam on my official visit, I didn't see a "superstar". I saw a guy who was really down to earth. We talked about a lot of different things, not just football, and we communicated really well. Hopefully that will help next year when I get here, and will help him get me the ball."

Make no mistake; Woods is aiming for an early impact at West Virginia.

"I saw a practice while I was there, and they throw it a lot in practice. Almost every play," he said. "I feel like I can have an impact next year. They have great athletes and good people at wide receiver, and I think I can fit in there."

NOTES

Woods was recruited by safeties coach Bruce Tall. He appreciated Tall's more reserved manner in the process.

"Coach Tall is cool. He recruited me respectfully and in the right way. He kept me informed, and called me once a week, and always had lots of good things to say. He had Coach Magee and Coach Dews talked about what I can do for WVU. I can't wait for next year to get there."

* * *

In the end, Woods decision came down to the people, academics and football. He found much to like in all three areas, but was particularly impressed with the first item.

"I had been to West Virginia before, so I didn't see a whole lot of things that were new on my official visit," he said. "Everyone is cool and down to earth, there. The coaches, the players, and the fans, everyone seems to be having fun. They are fun to be around."

* * *

Woods played just five games during his senior season after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot on his spine. He is "100%" now, but admitted that the process was a frightening one.

"I was very scared when I heard that. I started crying, because that took my senior season away. I wanted to be there for my team. But in the end, there were things to learn. It was a sign that football won't be here forever."

Despite the shortened season, Woods still managed to rack up 39 catches for 812 yards and eight TDs and a second team all-conference spot. Without a doubt, his team's 6-4 record would have been better, and his honor list much more crowded, had he been able to play a full season.


BlueGoldNews Top Stories