Carroll cornerback Cedric Woods was among Louisiana Tech’s 19 signees as the early signing period kicked off Wednesday morning.
A 3.8 student who is leaning toward majoring in business, Woods pledged to the Tech Bulldogs in January, and held firm to his commitment.
“I like the family atmosphere and the coaching staff. It’s only 30 minutes from Monroe, so my family and friends can come watch me play on Saturdays,” said Woods, who chose Tech over ULM and Grambling State.
Tech’s success on the field also factored into Woods’ decision. The Bulldogs (9-3) play Miami in the Walk-ons Independence Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 26 in Shreveport.
“They are going to their sixth consecutive bowl game, which is great,” Woods said. “I’m excited about getting there, and getting started.”
Woods is the first signee from the skill positions since quarterback Antron Mason inked with ULM in 2007. Current Carroll coach Alex Washington signed with Ole Miss as an offensive lineman the same year.
Washington believes Tech is getting a gem.
“What Louisiana Tech is going to find out about Cedric is that he is extremely smart and really, really fast,” Washington said. “If put in the right situation, it could be a great thing for Tech and Cedric.”
Woods was a four-year starting cornerback for the Carroll Bulldogs, and a two-way starter for his final three seasons. He was the starting quarterback as a sophomore and a junior before moving to wide receiver last season.
“Playing both ways kind of pulled him away from what he does,” Washington said. “But you can’t deny that he’s fast, plays hard, and he’s a game changer.”
Woods excelled as a two-way starter, earning first-team All-District 2-3A recognition as both a wide receiver and defensive back.
“Not that playing both sides of the ball was hard, but it is going to be an advantage to be able to focus on one position,” Woods said.
In the long run, Woods expects to benefit from playing both ways throughout his high school career.
“Being able to play all around helped me become a more versatile football player. It also helped me as far as becoming more knowledgeable about the game,” Woods said. “The experience from playing both sides of the field in high school is going to help me out when I get to college. I can tell which (pass) route is coming by the way a wide receiver or an offensive lineman lines up. That plays a big role as far as playing defensive back.”
Before reporting to Tech in the summer, Woods plans to spend the next few months studying the game.
“The one part of the game I would like to improve on is play recognition,” Woods said. “I need to be able to recognize what’s going on, and react to it faster.”
Woods can look back with pride on his senior season. Rebounding from a 2-8 finish in 2018, the Bulldogs improved to 6-4 and placed runner-up in district. He is looking for his younger teammates to build on the success.
“I feel great about the future of the Carroll program,” Woods said. “The improvement from my junior year to my senior year was tremendous. As far as the culture, our class really changed things over here. The future is bright for these guys.
“After missing the playoffs the year prior, it was exciting to be back. Even though we came up short, it was good for our young guys to be there and experience the playoff atmosphere.”
Carroll’s success started in the weight room the day after the 2018 season ended.
“We wanted to have a more disciplined and a more structured program, and the senior class bought into that,” said Washington, who recently completed his second season as head coach. “We weren’t surprised by the success we had because the kids put in the work.”
Woods gets to represent Carroll on the football field one final time in Saturday’s I-20 Bowl all-star game. Starting time is 2 p.m. at Ruston High.
Upon returning from the Christmas/New Year’s break, Woods will shift his attention to another sport. A sprinter for the track team, Woods has qualified for the State Meet the previous three years.
“I just want to finish the track season strong, and try to bring a championship back to Carroll,” Woods said.