Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern four-star cornerback Eli Woodard committed to Ohio State last Friday, and went public with his decision six days later.
The future U.S. Army All-American is the fourth commit for Coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes in the class of 2013, joining five-star athlete Jalin Marshall and four-star safety Cameron Burrows and four-star defensive lineman Billy Price.
“I really took the time between my sophomore and junior year and treated it as if it was my senior year which I thank my parents for supporting me in,” Woodard told 247Sports. “I took a lot of visits to various schools and got to see and feel what I liked and what I didn’t. I have been to Ohio State several times since the seventh grade and was very familiar with the football side of things but hadn’t visited the academic side of the university until this past August. I really appreciate all the schools and coaches that recruited me, but in the end Ohio State lived up to everything as a university, football program and the entire Buckeye Nation has been nothing but great!”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Woodard has been an Ohio State lean throughout the recruiting process, and chose the Buckeyes over offers from the likes of Alabama, California, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Wisconsin.
Woodard says his latest trip to Columbus this past weekend sealed the deal.
“I knew once and for all after meeting the new coaches, and my mother and sister who hadn’t attended the visit in August got to see the campus for the first time which was big for me,” Woodard explained. “We sat with Coach Meyer and were able to get his perspective on everything which is really exciting, and it’s a special time to be a Buckeye! So I just knew that now is the time! “
All four of Ohio State’s commits are ranked inside the Top247, with Woodard checking in as the nation’s No. 5 cornerback and No. 82 prospect overall. He gives credit to the previous and current coaching staff on showing him that Ohio State was the right place.
“Just getting to meet the new coaching staff and getting a feel of what the direction of things will be going forward,” Woodard said. “I will always be thankful for the positive impact all the coaches have had on me over my time spent being there over the years from Coach (Jim) Tressel, Coach (Darrell) Hazell and Coach (Taver) Johnson, and I’m just as excited for the impact the current coaching staff, which I believe is the best in country, will have on me over the next chapter of my life on and off the field.
“Also, I am really looking forward to locking things down with Cam, who he and I have been in solid contact throughout this process and are really excited we get to come in together and push each other from the start to be the best! I am looking forward to getting to know Jalin and Billy better as the year goes on, and excited for whoever else comes on board in the 2013 class.
“I also know that it’s a blessing to be able to join an already highly talented team and I’m up for the challenge of doing my part to contribute early.”
Eastern coach Dan Spittal thinks Woodard could do just that, contribute early. As a junior he had 40 tackles, five pass breakups, zero touchdowns allowed, two forced fumbles and hardly any passes thrown in his direction.
“We’ve had some pretty good corners over the last couple years and he’s another along the way,” Eastern coach Dan Spittal began. “He can line up in press coverage and end up running with anyone. He has a great frame at 6-1 with long arms, and his great hips are an added bonus. We line him up on the other team’s best receiver and make them go the other direction. He has great speed and he’s a hitter for a corner. He really showed well at the one-day camps he went to. He really blew everyone out of the water.
“He’s just a great kid,” Spittal continued. “He’s always going to be a fine representative and comes from a great family. He’s one of those types of kids that come around once every 10 or 12 years.”
Look for more from Woodard later today on a special Front Row Radio here on Bucknuts.com.