November 23, 2011

Bucks still leading for Woodard?

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One of the top junior prospects in the entire nation is Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern Regional defensive back Eli Woodard. The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect has been to Ohio State many times over the years both for camps, practices, and games. On Saturday afternoon, Woodard was back in Columbus to take in the Penn State game.

"It was nice to get back out to Ohio State," said Woodard. "This was my first visit while school was in session and got to see a little of the campus feel and energy. The student section during the game was intense. I always knew the fan base was great, but they really took it up a notch and the atmosphere was electric."

Woodard has developed a close relationship with many of the coaches on the Ohio State staff, particularly on the defensive side of the football. Woodard caught up with those coaches after Saturday's game.

"I had a chance to speak with a few of the coaches after the game and spent a lot of time with coach (Taver) Johnson in particular," he explained. "I have gotten a chance to build up a strong relationship with him and he is a great coach. I know the guys really believe in everything he stands for and it's easy to see why."

Like most of the nation by now, Woodard has heard the Urban Meyer rumors and while he is waiting to see what happens, he also gave his vote of confidence to the current staff.

"There is no negative effect," he said. "I know one thing; coach (Luke) Fickell has done a great job this season and is someone I would play for along with the rest of the coaches. I have spent most of my time getting to know the defense and know they have the right group of coaches in place."

Woodard added that he continues to get more comfortable with Ohio State each time he visits.

"I have taken my interests in wanting to play football in college very seriously," he explained. "Ohio State has been a major focus point of this interest so I have wanted to make sure I get to see everything possible. At the end of the day, it's about the University as a whole being a fit, Buckeye Nation on all levels hasn't disappointed."

Woodard has accumulated some big-time early offers from the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and others and right now the interest is at an all-time high.

"Notre Dame is up there and a program I have a lot of respect for along with their coaching staff," Woodard noted, when asked which other schools are recruiting him the hardest. "Rutgers is in-state and is doing a nice job. Purdue, Alabama and Wisconsin are programs still in the 'getting to know each other' stages and have shown a very high level of respect which means a lot. Florida, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Nebraska and Boston College have stepped things up and there are multiple other schools in contact."

Woodard also wanted to make sure that every school he deals with knows his appreciation for the time and energy used to recruit him.

"More importantly, I do not take any of this for granted," he explained. "It's a blessing and a position I am very thankful to be in. All I can do is put everything I got into this offseason to make sure I keep my grades up, handle my SAT's and train so I can make an impact on the next level as immediate as possible. Wherever I end up I want to play and know I have a lot of hard work ahead of me to make that happen."

Woodard has been consistent in stating that Ohio State is right at the top of his list. He re-affirmed that stance on Tuesday but is keeping a close eye on how things shake out over the next several weeks.

"As of now Ohio State is the school to beat," he said. "But I certainly need to see the direction of how things are moving here in the next month."


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