December 6, 2010

Woods takes it all in

When he committed in February, signing day seemed far off to Woodland Hills (Calif.) defensive tackle Antwaun Woods.

But the yearlong wait is almost over for the longest standing member of USC’s 2011 recruiting class. With his football season over, Woods is taking the time to soak everything in.

The four-star prospect watched Saturday’s USC-UCLA game on television and paid close attention to the linemen. Woods liked what he saw.

“I watched the d-line play, and they played excellent,” Woods said. “They had a couple of sacks and a couple of hits and big plays.”

As one of a handful of highly touted Los Angeles area recruits, the impact of the rivalry game wasn’t lost on Woods. But he said the game has different stakes for the two teams when it comes to recruiting.

“I think the game doesn’t matter to USC, because win or lose, the recruits are going to love USC,” Woods said. “They know that it’s the first year for the coaching staff and they had a lot of ups and downs.

“But if UCLA had won that game, it would have been big for them and it would have helped them recruiting-wise. They’d have something to reference and say, ‘We beat USC this year.’”

Woods recently had his in-home visit with USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron. It was hard for Woods’s mind not to wander with Orgeron in his house.

“I saw Coach O on ‘The Blind Side,’ so when he came to visit I kept thinking about that,” Woods said with a laugh. “We just talked about USC and everything that’s going to happen and the scholarship system.”

The theme of early playing time was pervasive in the conversation.

“They only took one defensive tackle last year in George Uko,” Woods said. “This year it’s only me and possibly another guy that’s coming in to play defensive tackle or nose guard. If Jurrell Casey goes to the NFL, it’s basically four guys �" me, DaJohn Harris, George Uko, and Christian Tupou �" for two spots. [Orgeron] said he wanted me to come in and be in the rotation or possibly start.”

Woods had planned on visiting Washington, but he now said that he would not be taking the visit. Besides going on his January 14 visit to USC, Woods said he may be finished with that part of the recruiting process.

“I don’t think I’ll take any more official visits,” Woods said. “I’m not sure.”

With the season now over, Woods is now focused on staying in shape during the offseason. He said he had a few regrets with his senior season.

“Early on, I got a little too cocky, so I lost my technique and started playing passive,” Woods said. “I wasn’t attacking people; I was trying to go around people and make plays. I was trying to do too much.”

Woods will give himself a little rest to relax an injured knee, but then it is right back to the grind. He hopes to be down to 300 pounds by the time he reaches campus.

“It’s a mindset thing,” Woods said. “You have to tell yourself that you need to work out. You can easily just sit at home and eat and gain weight. It’s happened to me before, so you have to be mentally ready.”

USCfootball.com will keep you updated on Woods through signing day.


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