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Woods Emerging As Playmaker For WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

Senior Wide Receiver J.D. Woods is doing everything he can to make his final year at West Virginia a memorable one. Woods recently moved from inside receiver to outside.

"I don't have much more time here at West Virginia," Woods said. "I am doing what I can to contribute to this team and help us win."

"J.D. is a versatile guy," Quarterback Geno Smith said of Woods. "He can play slot, he can play outside, he can play right side or left side. He is a guy who has moved around a lot for us and never complained."

The move from the inside to the outside is due to the rise of freshman receiver Jordan Thompson.

"With the emergence of Jordan Thompson playing at a very high level, we felt better at the inside receiver spot with him and Tavon (Austin), than we did at the outside receiver spot," Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said, "so we moved J.D. back out, because he was more productive."

"Yesterday he was making plays like crazy," Thompson said of Woods. "He caught easily seven catches in the two minute drill and was pushing it forward."

Woods is a versatile receiver in that he can play both inside and outside. He has learned and understands both positions. Woods appears to have more size over defensive backs on the outside and uses that to his advantage.

"My height gives me an advantage on some of the smaller DB's," Woods said. "I can also use my elusiveness a little bit."

"I think the depth that we have at receiver is great," Running Back Shawne Alston said. "Jordan being on the inside and making plays is great. He is able to block well and that allows us to move J.D. around a bit."

Woods is gaining confidence in himself and earning more and more confidence from those on the team.

"J.D. has picked it up of late and is making plays for us right now," Smith said. "He definitely deserves the credit and he continues to work hard. I think J.D. is going to have a big season for us."

"He caught the ball every time it was thrown his way," Alston said. "He got up the field and gained some extra yards sometimes. In the two minute situation, he did a great job of getting out of bounds. Having a good day like that will boost his confidence and give the coaches and quarterbacks confidence in him also."

Woods is approaching this season like an NFL player in a contract year. Knowing this is a final opportunity to impress tends to bring a sense of urgency to a player. Often times, the "contract" year can be one of the best years in that players' career.

"I'm just eager to get back out and play," Woods said with a smile. "As you guys seen yesterday, I was able to make some plays and that is all I am focusing on right now. I'm excited because I don't have much time left. Every play counts this year."

Woods was disappointed in his junior season catching just seven passes for 67 yards. Those are numbers he intends and expects to improve on this fall. If his success in practice carries over to the field, he will likely meet that expectation in the first month of the season.

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