Derrick Woods was a freshman when fellow Inglewood, Calif., wide receiver Shaquelle Evans was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl so Thursday was a special day for Woods, who said he's thrilled to follow in that tradition and is looking forward to competing in San Antonio.
"It's exciting to have a chance to play in this game," Woods said. "I know Shaq made it to play in this game when I was a freshman. For me, four years later to step up and do the same thing he did is a big deal for me and the school.
"I was probably a little too young to really follow it too closely. I was more worried about the JV games and not the varsity but I was a friend of his so it means a lot."
Woods, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound four-star wide receiver, said he's looking forward to proving his abilities at the Army Bowl and really hopes he can jell with the West quarterbacks. Getting that chemistry down with the quarterbacks is Woods' first focus as he looks to excel all week.
"I am hoping to get a good quarterback and get some good chemistry with him," Woods said. "As far as balling, that's something I do so I'm going to go out there and do my best."
Woods was supposed to visit with the Sooners last weekend but he had to take the SAT so he's planning to reschedule his visit to Norman.
One issue with Oklahoma is that it apparently wants Woods to play safety and he's leaning toward staying at wide receiver in college.
"I was supposed to go to Oklahoma but I had to take the SAT the day I was going to take my official," Woods said. "I guess that got postponed so I think I'm just going to wait.
"Oklahoma is a great school and they throw the ball a lot but they want me to play safety so we'll see what comes from that. I don't know yet what kind of decision I'm going to make with them."
Arizona has been successful recruiting Inglewood players - including three-star cornerback Devian Shelton this recruiting cycle and three-star receiver Patrick Onwuasor last recruiting class - and Woods is definitely interested in heading to Tucson. The one reservation is that the Wildcats do not have a coach yet so Woods is hesitant to get too excited.
Rated No. 12 at wide receiver and No. 95 in the 2012 class by Rivals.com, Woods said he is planning an unofficial visit to Arizona possibly in a couple weeks.
"The coaching thing is a big deal because I don't want to go somewhere where I don't know the coaches or they end up leaving or where I had good chemistry with them because that would be something tough for me," Woods said.
Arizona State and USC are also serious players for Woods, who said the biggest aspect of his recruiting is finding a place where he's impressed with the quarterback situation.
The biggest thing for Woods is being on a team where he can develop a great relationship with his future quarterback and that's going to play a big factor in his decision-making process. Staying at wide receiver also is a big deal.
"The thing I'm looking most for in a college is their quarterback recruiting," Woods said. "It's hard to make a decision on a position but I'd really like to play receiver in college because that's where I started and that's where I'd like to finish."