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Insider

Change in position seals deal for Woods

12/7/2011

Wide receiver Derrick Woods (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood) had felt for the last couple of months that Oklahoma was going to be his school of choice.

He wanted to weigh all of his options, however, before making the decision. And after an official visit to California last weekend, Woods knew all he needed to know and verbally committed to the Sooners late Tuesday night.

Woods told his mother first and then called wide receivers coach Jay Norvell to let the OU coaching staff know about the good news.

Woods called around 10 p.m. PT, which meant it was midnight when Norvell received the call. But that didn’t matter.

“He was very excited,” Woods said. “I’m very excited, too.”

Woods, 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, let it be known earlier this season that he was hoping to leave California, and OU was clearly in the lead heading into November.

And then it hit some speed bumps. Woods was originally scheduled for an official visit Nov. 5, but he had to take the SAT the same day so his visit was postponed.

Originally recruited as a wide receiver, he was also being asked to move to safety and was talking with defensive backs coach Willie Martinez.

“If it came down to that, I was like it’s still a big-time school. I’m still an outstanding safety,” Woods said. “But it’s not where my heart is.”

The coaches had a change of heart in the last couple of weeks as it became more apparent that wide receiver Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely) was a solid LSU commit. It opened the door for Woods to go back to his position of choice.

Woods made his official visit Thanksgiving weekend, which also happened to be his 18th birthday. He connected immediately with California natives Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson and has been interacting with the duo ever since on Twitter.

“That was one of the biggest things for me was seeing how the players interact with each other,” Woods said. “It’s a great program, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

This is the first instance of the “Cali Trio” having a positive effect on west coast recruiting. Jefferson, Stills and Brennan Clay have been very popular choices for hosting recruits on official visits and have made big impressions on other California kids. However, Woods is the first West Coast product since the trio to commit to OU. He might not be the last for this class as OU is still in the running for several California products.

Woods is ranked the No. 17 wide receiver and gives the Sooners three of the top 17 receivers in the nation with Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City/Heritage Hall) at No. 7 and Durron Neal (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) at No. 8.

“I know there is a lot of talent, and I can’t wait to get a chance to play with those guys,” Woods said.

Woods said he enjoyed his visit to California, but in the end, he still had the urge to leave the state and still had that special feeling about the Sooners.

“No reason to wait any longer,” Woods said. “I’m so happy to have this process over with. I can relax and get ready for my future at OU.”