Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recruiting Riding High (and Lo) | by Pat

Right on the heels of the Lueders announcement was another defensive commit in the form of Florida cornerback Lo Wood. The recruiting class of 2010 bumped up to eight when Wood flew into South Bend and announced his commitment at mini-press conference at the Varsity Club Hotel. Here is a clip of that presser where Wood did the hat and shirt announcement game as well as answered a few questions about his recruitment.

The 5'11" 167 pound Wood currently is pegged as a 3 star recruit on both Rivals and Scout. As a cornerback, Wood is Rival's 32nd ranked corner and the 42nd ranked corner on Scout. ESPN gave Wood a grade of 78. Those aren't the highest ranks for a corner, but he did have a pretty solid offer list. Runner-up Michigan joined offers from Virginia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Stanford, NC State, and others. And while Wood's combine "measurables" didn't stand out from the pack, he performed well enough at the Jacksonsville National Underclassmen Combine a year ago to win the Defensive Back MVP award.

Winning the last positional award of the morning was DB MVP Lo Wood of Apopka High School. Wood (5 feet 10, 162 pounds) showed great explosion to the receiver, and fabulous ball skills and athleticism. During the combine events, he also had a 27-inch vertical, 9'1.5" broad, 4.30 shuttle, 4.58 40, and 10 reps on 155 pounds.
The descriptions are sort of reminiscent of Robert Blanton, who similarly didn't wow people with his 40 time or vertical leap, but kept impressing when actual football was being played. The Rivals Florida high school site just released their Top 100 Florida recruits list and put Wood at number 43 with the description "It's hard to argue that Wood isn't the most physical DB in the state". If you're looking to try to figure out just what kind of corner ND is getting, here are his highlight clips.

Another bit of good news is that Wood plans on graduating early and becoming an early enrollee at ND. It will be a tad bit of an adjustment to move from the middle of Florida to South Bend in January, but Wood says he's ready.
"A lot of schools tried to say it's going to get cold," Wood said. "But if you want to play in the NFL, you've got to go to Green Bay sometimes. And it's going to be cold there, so you better get used to it."
Getting back to his homestate, Wood's high school, Apopka High, is a strong team from Central Florida that plays in the state's largest classification. Last year the school produced incoming Michigan freshman Jeremy Gallon and is the alma mater of NFL star Warren Sapp. If Wood can be the start of a pipeline to the school, that would certainly be a good thing.

On to the cornerback depth chart.

Fifth Year
Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman
Darrin Walls
Gary Gray*
Robert Blanton
E.J. Banks
Lo Wood

J. Slaughter *

There is definite talent on this table, but not all that much depth. Consider that Darrin Walls could easily declare for the NFL draft after the 2009 season with the depth becoming much thinner. Wood is the much needed first CB recruit in a class expected to land two or three. ND seems to be in a good position with a number of talented prospects, so hopefully filling up this class with freshman ready to contribute right away won't be a problem.