Former UK star Andre Woodson Jr. spreading his wings as an Eagle.
Woodson will join the Morehead State coaching staff as wide receivers coach, he confirmed to CatsIllustrated.com on Friday evening.
"With Morehead reaching out to me, I felt like this was the best thing for me," Woodson said in a phone interview with Cats Illustrated. "The other coaches felt the same way. This was an opportunity I had to take."
Woodson, who played quarterback for the Wildcats from 2003-07, had served as a graduate assistant at UK in 2012. He was a student assistant in 2011 after spending a brief stint in the NFL. He worked primarily with the quarterbacks in 2011 before working with the offensive line in 2012. He sent in signals from the sidelines both seasons.
He finished his UK career as the program's No. 2 all-time leading passer, behind only Jared Lorenzen. He completed 791 of 1278 passes over his career, throwing for 9,360 yards and 79 touchdowns against 25 interceptions. He was a sixth round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2008, spending two years in the NFL and some time in the UFL.
Woodson, who was expected to return for a second season as a graduate assistant in 2013, met Morehead State coach Rob Tenyer when he attended a UK practice while Woodson was coaching. The position with the Eagles will be Woodson's first full-time coaching job.
Despite that, it wasn't easy for Woodson to make the decision to leave Lexington.
"It's difficult for me for the fact that I played here and came back and coached here," he said. "I have so many memories. It's bittersweet. But you have to move on at some point."
He spoke to new UK head coach Mark Stoops, offensive coordiantor Neal Brown and members of UK's previous coaching staff before deciding to take the job.
Woodson moved from working with quarterbacks after the 2011 season to offensive line in an effort to improve his base of knowledge as a coach. He spent spring practice and the 2012 season working closely with offensive line coach Mike Summers, a Broyles Award nominee this year.
"Last year, working with Coach Summers, it put light on how much I did not know," Woodson said. "That guy, he's special. He truly is one of the better coaches on the college level."
He also spent time working with wide receivers coach Pat Washington, particularly in breaking down film.
"I spent enough time to know a lot of the different details about it that you need to know to coach that position," Woodson said.
It might not be the last the Wildcats have heard from Woodson, though. He'd like the chance to return to his alma mater as a coach one day.
Woodson said he still remembers the excitement generated at UK in his senior year, when the Wildcats rose to a top-10 national ranking. He hopes he'll have a chance to be a part of another special season at Kentucky down the road.
"At some point I'd love to come back," Woodson said. "If I ever had an opportunity, I'd love to come back. You want to come back and be a part of something special here."