Out of the Woods

After missing his first year with the Mountaineers, redshirt freshman J.D. Woods is ready to dive into the competition for playing time at wide receiver.

Woods, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in preseason and sat out the entire year, didn't get off to the start that he hoped for in college. However, just one year later, Woods says he has more confidence and is in good health.

"I'm a lot more comfortable," admitted the Florida speedster. "Freshman year you're always nervous and thinking too much. You're always like ‘Oh, okay the game is faster.' This year I'm able to relax and just go out and play football. [My shoulder] is 100 percent right now. I'm still strengthening it."

With the Mountaineers seemingly set with a starting corps of Alric Arnett, Bradley Starks and Wes Lyons at receiver, Woods realizes that he will have to compete to see playing time, and that it will probably come in a backup role. However, he welcomes the challenge, and knows that a good start this year will position him for more time down the road.

"[The competition] makes me go out and work harder every day," said Woods. "That's something I love. I love competition. Bradley makes me work harder and Arnett makes me work harder. Bradley helps me out a lot. If I ever have a question, Bradley helps me out. Arnett helps me and Wes helps me out too."

Woods is still striving to get better so that he can evenly compete with his fellow receivers. However, after missing so much on-field time a year ago, he's really getting his first extended taste of college action.

"I need to speed myself up and stop thinking so much," said Woods. "Coach Galloway tells me that all of the time. That's what I'm trying to learn -- to go out and play -- and when I go out and play hopefully good things can happen. If I can learn to just go out and play everything will be okay."

Woods is a fan of the current Mountaineer offense and excited about the increase in passing that will likely be brought by quarterback Jarrett Brown.

"I just wanted to come in and contribute," said Woods. "I try to block as hard as I can every play and give 100 percent whether it's a pass play or a run play I try to make my route look the same so that the defense won't know [what the play is]. I'm glad we have an offense that passes a lot because I'm a receiver and I love catching the ball."

Despite being a wide receiver, Woods was recruited by defensive line Coach Bill Kirelawich, who covers the Naples area in Woods' home state of Florida. Woods credits Kirelawich with convincing him to come to Morgantown, and also sought the advice of another Mountaineer during the recruiting process.

"I love that dude," said Woods. "He did a great job recruiting me and I'm glad he recruited me. What you see is what you get. I'm thankful that he recruited me. My grandma and granddad love him. They ask about him all of the time. They just love Coach K.

"I talked to Noel [Devine] when I was getting recruited, too," Woods added. "He helped some to get me here. He was telling me to stay focused, stay out of trouble, and come up here and work hard. He said it was different from home and it is. It's different than back home in Florida but I love it here."

Woods, who has been working with the outside receivers, is currently backing up Starks as a second teamer. With Starks taking some snaps and working with the quarterbacks during many drills, Woods will have an unparalleled chance to show his ability during fall camp.

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