April 29, 2012

'A blessed predicament'

Jackson defensive lineman Jay Woods grew up a mere 70 miles from the University of Georgia campus, and has spent his fair share of time there over the last couple of years.

It wasn't until Thursday, however, that the Bulldogs gave the three star defender the news that he wanted to hear.

"Coach called me into his office and my recruiter, Coach (Bryan) McClendon was on the phone," said Woods. "He told me that he had great news for me, and was going to let someone else let me know. Then Coach (Mark) Richt came on the phone asked me if I knew who it was. I told him that it sounded like Coach Richt, and he told me I had a full scholarship to the University of Georgia."

The UGA Head Coach didn't stop there in his conversation with Woods, as Richt brought up a term that has become very familiar in Georgia recruiting circles over the last couple of seasons.

"Coach Richt told me that I am a great player and that they want me at Georgia," said Woods. "He told me they want me on this year's version of the Dream Team, and we talked about that."

Woods holds 23 offers from nearly every conference in the nation, but while the star defensive lineman remains open at this point, the offer from the Bulldogs is a little different than the others.

"I'm still open and every thing, but this offer stands out a little bit," he said. "It is mainly due to the location of where I am and where they are. Just having the home state school offer and all that is pretty cool."

In early March, UGA held a Very Important Dawg Day for some of their top junior targets, and Woods was in attendance.

At the VID event, the talented defensive lineman had an opportunity to learn a great deal about the Georgia defense.

"When I was on campus for VID, I talked a lot with Coach (Todd) Grantham about their defense and all," he said. "We talked about how a guy like me would fit in the defense and I had some time with the defensive line coach, Coach (Rodney) Garner."

As a kid, Woods admits that he grew up rooting for the Bulldogs, and remembers watching a few Georgia greats do big things in the Richt era.

"I grew up rooting for Georgia and watching guys like David Pollack," said Woods. "Just watching guys like him and David Greene and Fred Gibson, and all. It was a good time and I have always been a Georgia fan."

As a junior for the Red Devils, Woods was virtually unblockable and spent the vast majority of his snaps in the opposing team's backfield.

According to the Peach State star, his game is completely built around winning battles at the point of attack.

"I learned all by stuff from my defensive line coach and he taught me everything I know," said Woods. "I'm a flat back player with great get-off and I play aggressive. Our number one thing on the defensive line is to go from run to pass in the way we play, so that is how I do."

With a full summer to fine tune his game, Woods has already identified where and how he will make himself a better player in 2012.

"One thing I'm working on this spring with my coaches is trying to play with better leverage," said Woods. "I want to get better at that and get better at playing through double teams."

With some many offers so early in the process, Woods' recruitment has been hectic thus far, and although he isn't ready two name leaders at this time, a couple of schools are clearly recruiting him the harder than the rest.

"I don't have a top group or any leaders right now," he said. "It comes down to Georgia Tech and Kentucky as the schools that are recruiting me the hardest. I hear a lot from most of the schools that have offered, but those two are the hardest right now. I hope to have it narrowed down to a top eight by the end of the summer and maybe make a decision during the season or right after the season."

The phone calls and texts have been coming at a neck-breaking pace for the 29th ranked defensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com, but despite the burden, you won't hear him complain.

"I'm blessed to be in this situation. It is a blessed predicament," said Woods. "It is great to have the opportunity and it is a lot to do and all, but I'm blessed to be here."

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