Entering his senior year, Cedric Woods is determined to help the Carroll Bulldogs return to their winning ways.
Breaking into the starting lineup as a 5-8, 155-pound freshman cornerback, the Louisiana Tech pledge helped the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record and a second round playoff appearance. Carroll has won only six games combined over the past two seasons, including a 2-8 mark last fall.
“My freshman and sophomore years, we had superstars all across the board,” Woods said. “All of those guys graduated, so we were kind of young last year. That’s why I feel like this year is going to be good — we have the experience.”
Woods has been a fixture in the Bulldogs’ lineup his entire varsity career. Besides going into his fourth season as a defensive starter, he started at quarterback the past two seasons.
Woods, who has grown to 5-10, 175 pounds, verbally committed to Tech as a cornerback.
“Cornerback is my better position,” he said. “Quarterback has grown on me. I didn’t like it at first.”
If all goes according to plan, Woods will take the majority of his offensive snaps at wide receiver rather than quarterback in the season ahead.
“We are probably going to go with Antonio Hollins at quarterback,” Carroll coach Alex Washington said. “Cedric helps us stretch the field more as a wide receiver. He will still get some snaps at quarterback, but he creates a lot of mismatches as a receiver.”
On the island known as cornerback, Woods prevents mismatches.
“Cedric is real fast and covers a lot of ground, and he’s a real smart kid,” Washington said. “You don’t have to worry about him having any missed assignments.”
Woods committed in the spring, choosing the Tech Bulldogs over ULM, Northwestern State, Southern Mississippi and Grambling State.
Committing early enabled Woods to put his mind at ease. A 3.9 student, he is academically qualified.
“It’s a relief to have it behind me,” said Woods of the recruiting process.
Woods has spent the summer working on his game.
In addition to attending Carroll’s summer workouts, he has been to football camps at Southern Miss, ULM and Tech.
“Last summer, I had a summer job, but this summer I have focused on football,” Woods said.
Woods is the type of player who never complains about summer workouts.
“I don’t mind coming up here,” said Woods after a recent strength and conditioning session. “It gives me something to do, and I like the results.”
As a two-way starter, Woods appreciates the grueling workouts in the summer heat when fall arrives.
“It’s difficult (playing both ways), but once you get past the second or third game, you get into the flow,” Woods said. “It’s not as bad as it seems because you have been working out all summer, and I can kind of control the tempo when I’m at quarterback.”
Woods has worked to sharpen his skills on both sides of the ball over the summer.
“I am trying to develop more accuracy throwing the ball and I have been working on catching the ball,” Woods said. “As far as defense, I have been working on my tackling, tracking the ball better and getting more interceptions.”
Woods has been encouraged by the Bulldogs’ pre-camp workouts.
“We have a lot of seniors this year,” Woods said. “I feel like our leadership is better. Everybody has been working real hard. We are having a lot better turnouts than we did last summer.”
Two teammates in particular have caught Woods’ attention.
“Jacoby Brown (wide receiver/safety) and Donald Nabors (cornerback/safety) have been working real hard,” Woods said. “They haven’t missed any workouts.”
Not that he expects it to be easy, but Woods is confident 2019 will be a turnaround season for the C-Dogs.
“Every game is a battle in district,” Woods said. “If we can just get our offensive line and defensive line to play at a high level, we can win district. We have the skill guys to do it. We have some good linemen — we just don’t have many of them.”
Woods, who is also a sprinter for the track team in the spring, has set his goals high for his senior year.
“My biggest goal is to win district,” Woods said. “My individual goal is to get on Aaron’s Aces.”
If the Bulldogs return to their winning ways, Woods just might get the coveted visit from KNOE Sports Director Aaron Dietrich.