Ready To Start

J.D. Woods is a multi-sport performer for Golden Gate High School, but even though he has two sports left to complete on that level, he is already anxiously awaiting his move to West Virginia to begin his college career.

Woods, a playmaking wide receiver who excels after the catch, is also a standout on the basketball court and track. He runs the 200-meter dash and the 4x100 relay, and also long jumps and triple jumps for Golden Gate, and will do so again this year. However, at least some of his concentration will be focused on his destination after graduation.

"I want to get there the first session of summer school," Woods said "I want to be able to get off to a good start."

Woods' anxiousness is probably matched by that of the West Virginia coaching staff, which has had an offer out to him since his junior season.

"I've had an offer from West Virginia for a long time, and I have been looking into them and following them since my junior year," he said. "I was really glad when they offered me, and they were always one of the schools that I was considering. I am happy to be a Mountaineer."

Like many players from further distances, Woods wasn't able to make any unofficial visits to WVU, so his official visit last weekend was an important one.

"I was very happy with my official visit," he explained It was better than what I expected. The town and the state, it was just overwhelming. It didn't seem like the loss [to Pittsburgh] had any lasting effects. The team was over it, and they were working hard on the bowl game and on Oklahoma."

When recruiting players at a distance, the issue of developing a good relationship is perhaps even more important than with those players who can make unofficial visits during games and practices, and who can thus get an overall picture of the program. That was certainly the case with Woods.

"Coach Kirelawich was my recruiting coach, and every time we talked, we laugh and have a great time. The whole coaching staff is great, really. I love them all. They aren't uptight, and they are great to talk with."

Even though Woods is now in the Mountaineer fold, that process won't stop.

"Coach Rodriguez was in here [on Thursday] for an in-home visit," Woods noted. "He wants me to be one of those downfield threats that they haven't had in a while. I will have to work hard to do it, but I hope to play early and be a threat."

That statement answers some of the doubters and naysayers who believe that since West Virginia wasn't effective at throwing the ball downfield in 2007, that it will never be able to recruit receivers to do so in the future. Woods, like his similarly named, and future teammate, D. J. Woods of Strongsville, Ohio, dispels that notion.

"They want me to play outside, but I can play wherever they want me to play," Woods said. "I can play in the slot if they need it. I feel like my strength is running routes, catching the ball and making a big play. I can turn little catches into big plays, too.

"We ran the spread in high school, and we ran all different kinds of routes. I had short rounds, medium routes and deep stuff. I just want to go get the ball, and I love scoring. I think I can get downfield and beat people one-on-one."

Woods did plenty of that for Golden Gate, racking up 863 yards on 54 receptions. He scored nine touchdowns on the way to all-district and all-region honors. He believes that he has the ability to make a difference for West Virginia in the passing game, and defeat the one-on-one coverage that outside receivers in the Mountaineer offense have seen over the past couple of years. Along with fellow wide receiver verbal D.J. Woods, Florida's version of the WVU Woods connection could be the piece of the puzzle that WVU has been looking for.

NOTES

The pair of Woods first met on their official visits last weekend, and hit it off quickly, although neither discussed their name similarity.

"His room was right by mine on our visit," J.D said. "I liked him a lot. He was really cool. We got each other's phone numbers, and we'll be talking a lot, but we haven't talked about our names yet. I'm sure it will come up sometime.

"J.D." stands for Jermel Deonte, but Woods has always gone by his initials.

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Woods currently has a 3.2 GPA and a 17 on the ACT, and doesn't anticipate having any trouble qualifying.


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