J’Marick Woods, Wolverine

J’Marick Woods, Wolverine

March 29, 2016
J'Marick Woods 795x

Florence (AL) Florence safety J’Marick Woods (image via Scout)

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Florence (AL) Florence safety J’Marick Woods committed to Michigan on Monday. He was the second commit of the day after running back A.J. Dillon (LINK). Woods chose the Wolverines over offers from Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, among others.

Woods is listed at 6’3″, 205 lbs. and claims a 4.62 forty. He also lists a 4.11 shuttle, a 35″ vertical, a 275 lb. bench press, and a 390 lb. squat.

ESPN: 3-star, 79 grade, #25 S, #286 overall
Rivals: 3-star, #31 S
Scout: 4-star, #22 S, #278 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #30 S, #400 overall

Hit the jump for more on the new commitment.

Michigan was the first offer for Woods last spring, and he also attended the Summer Swarm tour stop at Prattville (AL) Prattville in June of 2015. The Wolverines were also recruiting his teammate, linebacker Erroll Thompson, in the 2016 class, but Thompson ended up choosing Mississippi State. Michigan has basically been the leader for Woods all along, except for a brief time when there was uncertainty after Michigan’s defensive coaching turnover. He took an official visit to Michigan last week and publicly made the announcement the day after Easter. He plans to enroll early.

Woods has been listed as tall as 6’4″ in some places, but his own Hudl page has him at 6’3″. Either way, he has good size for a safety, and he uses that size effectively to be a solid tackler. He does a good job of staying square to the ball carrier when he attacks the line of scrimmage in run support, and he tackles low while wrapping up well and driving his feet. Without being too aggressive, he reads plays well and comes up quickly against the run. He can also blitz off the edge. In the passing game, he shows good anticipation and understanding of route combinations, and he high-points the ball well.

On the negative side, Woods does not appear to have much experience in man coverage and is more of a zone safety, so that may be an adjustment to watch in college. He is also more of a straight-line player who’s not the most agile player on the field. These are minor concerns, however.

Woods is a good safety prospect. He may not be the most dynamic athlete on the field, but he understands the fundamentals of playing the position, has good athletic skills, and is an aggressive tackler and run supporter. I also like that he has played a variety of coverages from the safety position in high school, so he has an understanding of different defenses, his role in the scheme, playing in space, etc. For examples the other way, Dymonte Thomas is a better athlete but played linebacker in high school, so it took him 2.5 years to get a handle on playing safety in college; Josh Furman was almost the same exact size as Woods, but his high school experience as a rush linebacker left him unprepared for playing free safety in college.

Michigan should have a fair amount of playing time available when Woods shows up on campus, so it helps that he plans to enroll in January. That way he can get acclimated to the defense and get ready to step on the field. Michigan will lose two senior safeties (Delano Hill and the aforementioned Thomas) to graduation, and Jabrill Peppers is a safety-like player who could leave for the NFL Draft after 2016. Tyree Kinnel will be a junior in 2017, and the Wolverines have a few 2016 prospects who could play safety (including Brad Hawkins, Jr., Khaleke Hudson, Josh Metellus); however, those 2016 prospects could be headed for other positions or too limited to play free safety. Woods could play free safety or strong safety (a.k.a. Rover), but ideally, I think he would be headed for Rover. I think his game is somewhat reminiscent of graduating senior Jarrod Wilson, who was not a spectacular college player but had a very solid career after some struggles as a true freshman.

Michigan now has eight commits in the 2017 class. Woods is the first safety to commit, and he joins Canadian cornerback Benjamin St-Juste in the defensive backfield. The Wolverines have worked hard to recruit the south since Jim Harbaugh’s hiring, and Woods joins Georgian running back Kurt Taylor from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Michigan also got commitments from two Alabama players in the 2016 class (Kingston Davis signed, Dytarious Johnson remains unsigned) and one in 2015 (Keith Washington).

TTB Rating: 78 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 1356
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Mar 29, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    I really like the way he patrols back there. You don’t want to be just throwing it up to much with Woods around as it looks like he comes down with a few more than his share.

    I’m thinking Free Safety, although despite all the analysis, I still can’t honestly say that I understand what Brown is doing with his coverages.

    • Comments: 1356
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Mar 29, 2016 at 10:41 AM


  2. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:38 PM

    One thing that stumps me – I keep hearing that our defenses like to have interchangeable safeties who can cover and/or stop the run, yet it seems like we consistently recruit a long-lanky guy who can cover a lot of ground for deep/free safety and a shorter guy who is more like a hybrid nickelback/linebacker who can play closer to the line.

    In this class apparently they want to pair Woods and Jaylen Kelly Powell, so more of the same.

    Add to it that they moved Clark (who is FS-sized) to CB and Peppers (who is SS-sized) to LB…. pretty soon I’m not going to be comfortable saying anything more than “is probably a DB”.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 29, 2016 at 6:02 PM

      I think coaches like to believe that safeties can be interchangeable. It keeps offenses guessing, and you might roll a strong safety back deep on occasion just to mess with the QB/OC. But ultimately, there’s a difference between the safeties. There almost always has been and always will be. Delano Hill – who’s not really a space player – is playing Rover for a reason. The same goes for Dymonte Thomas at FS. I think Greg Mattison was actually a little more geared toward having interchangeable safeties than Don Brown is, but if you think about it, it makes some sense to have similar players at FS and SS if you’re running Cover 2 almost exclusively. Yet even if you look at the Bears, Buccaneers, etc., who have done that quite a bit over the last 10-15 years, there’s a difference.

      I mean, it would be great if you could move guys back and forth and leave an offense guessing or create a mismatch, but it’s unlikely that you’ll find two similar players who both make it to the top of their respective depth charts at the same position group.

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