LA MESA, Calif. – Washington State landed its second 2016 commit after Helix linebacker Jihad Woods tweeted out his collegiate decision on Friday. Standing at 5’11” and weighing 215-pounds, Woods is ranked as a three-star prospect on 247sports.com.
“Excited to announce I have verbally committed to play ball at Washington State University,” Woods posted on Twitter.
Last year, Woods helped anchor a strong Helix defense that propelled his team to the state finals. Although the Highlanders fell short, losing 20-13 to Riverside High School, Woods says it was a positive year overall.
“It went pretty good,” Woods said. “We made it to the CIF Championship but we lost. I did pretty good individually. I played both offense and defense. I think I did pretty good, but I’ll do better this year though.”
Woods racked up over 100 tackles last year, and he looks to repeat that total in 2015. In addition, Woods has set a goal of 500 rushing yards to round out his projected senior season.
Although he doesn’t have the height of many collegiate linebackers, Woods makes up for his size with his mobility.
“I’m not very tall, so I rely on my speed,” Woods explained. “I’m very quick for a linebacker and I think that’s my best quality as a linebacker is my speed. I’m able to run sideline to sideline and to get around offensive linemen, and I think I’m pretty good at securing tackles and everything, getting off blocks…the basics.”
These traits stood out to colleges in the region, and Woods says he heard from Arizona, San Jose State, San Diego State, Boise State and Washington consistently before he committed to Washington State.
Throughout his recruitment, many schools made a pitch to Woods, trying to entice the talented linebacker to join their respective programs. It was Washington State’s approach to Woods, however, that set the Cougars apart in his mind.
“It started with Twitter,” Woods said. “Coach Alex Grinch followed me and we just started chatting it up. He started showing interest, and then I started showing interest back. That’s when he offered me and he really had a great interest in me and a great belief in me that other coaches that recruited me didn’t have. That’s basically the reason why I committed.”
Woods was offered as an outside linebacker, but has the versatility to play inside linebacker at Washington State if need be.
The three-star California linebacker will be keeping his options open, though, and is planning on taking a visit to another Pac-12 school.
“Yeah, after I take my visit to Washington State I’ll probably take one to Arizona just because,” Woods said.
Although the Wildcats have not offered Woods a scholarship at this point, the standout linebacker may be in-line to receive an offer on his visit to Arizona. This will be a situation to monitor for Washington State going forward, and the Cougars will have to guard his commitment until Signing Day.
As far as official visits are concerned, Woods say he hasn’t thought about that yet.
Woods is joined by Ian Bock, a three-star pro-style quarterback from Oak Ridge High School in California. Bock is rated as the No. 25 pro-style QB in the country. The two prospects give Washington State the 71st-ranked recruiting class in 2016.