Eli Woodard, one of top cornerback prospects in the country, finally made his decision on Thursday, signing with The Ohio State University. The 6-foot-1, 185 pound d-back from Eastern High School in Voorhees, N.J., was ranked 28th in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com. Woodard, 16, spoke to Mike Coppinger of NationalUnderclassmen.com to discuss his decision to sign with Ohio State among other topics.
NUC: What are your strengths as a cornerback that separate you from other players?
Eli Woodard: People say I have good height, hips, speed and ball skills. There is a lot of talent out there and guys working hard to be the best. That is the great thing about football. So I just focus on the small details in order to play the best I can play and let it all play out on the field when I lock up against anyone I go against.
I know I am going to get someone's best coming at me every snap and that's what I like. The bigger the challenge the more dialed in I get. Last offseason I went up against at least 80 D1 level receivers from around the country so anything a 5'10 slot receiver got to a 6'6" WR I have seen and they quickly find out I earned my offers.
NUC: How does your size help you against opposing wideouts?
EW: I am just able to stay competitive at all phases of the play against a wide spectrum of players.
NUC: What are you most looking for in a school?
EW: All along it has been about finding a place that fits me even if football wasn't involved. I was fortunate enough to treat this past offseason between my sophomore and junior season like it was my senior season and thank my parents for supporting me through this. I was able to visit a lot of schools and see what I liked and what I didn't and in the end I found the school that fits me the best.
NUC: Why were Notre Dame, Ohio State and Rutgers your final three choices?
EW: This whole process has been a true blessing and I respect all the schools and coaches that took the time to recruit me. In the end these were the three schools that all offered something unique. Notre Dame is simply that - Notre Dame and there is no other place like it. I really like Coach Diaco and was able to see myself there. Rutgers where my mentor and good friend Logan Ryan plays who also graduated from my high school is there on top of being an hour from my house. He has done really well there in his third year and has a great future ahead. However I believe it is a different time there now with the coaching changes and just didn't see it as a fit for me based on that and the Big East as a whole.
Ohio State has just ended up being the right fit for me and it is an exciting time to be a Buckeye!
NUC: What was the most impressive thing you learned or saw during your college visits?
EW: Do not pick a school solely based on the coaches! They come and they go and really you have to feel the life of the school and the players on the team above anything to know it's the right place for you. At the same time coaches are just as important to everything, just plan on not all of them being there for the entire time you are going to be there especially at the position level.
NUC: What is your favorite part about football?
EW: My favorite part about football is really the entire experience of it all and everything it provides to someone's life. Discipline, toughness, teamwork, hard work and dedication.
NUC: What is your training regimen?
EW: Really to not take anything for granted and to continue to do the type of work that has gotten me this far and I am joining one of the top teams in the country so I have a lot of work to do between now and then! I have a five to six day a week training schedule and will continue to do so. I also will be traveling to get some workouts in with a few select guys around the country and in the process of getting all that setup.
NUC: Finally, how did the NUC help you throughout the recruiting process?
EW: I want to thank NUC for being there during this process. I started off in the 8th and 9th grades at the NUC and plan to attend a few select events this spring and summer. But the best thing I can say is that it's never too early to get dialed into making a name for yourself. High school goes fast and it was my time in the 8th and 9th grades that I got that exposure to some serious talent at the NUC events for the first time and it's one of the things that got me ready for the process, ready for the one-days college put on and ready to compete against anyone in the country on a high level.
NUC: Why was Ohio State the right fit?
EW: Coach Meyer and the staff left a great impression, I just felt real comfortable there. They said they're planning on keeping the same defense, but they might have some wrinkles. When I get there they will do more press and cover 2, because those are my strengths. This is the best option for me.